Moving an Aging Parent from Long-Distance – Part VI


by Joy Loverde

Mom and Bill’s house is showing well (Mom has always prided herself as the keeper of a spotless house).  In less than three days there are two offers on the house from two serious buyers. One of the buyers immediately offers $600 over the asking price and voila! The house is under contract. Wow! That was quick.

In fact, the house sale went down so fast that Mom is instantly relieved and Bill is stunned (he’s the reluctant party in this relocation idea). Now the move is inevitable and he’s digging in his heels anyway he can. At the same time Mom is on task and not letting Bill get away with any of his mind games.

Over the phone, Mom sounds tired. She knows what lies ahead in terms of getting rid of two decades of stuff. She tells me Bill is not helping at all, sitting in front of the television all day and night and not lifting a finger. I’m wondering if Mom is physically up to the task of sorting and discarding.

It’s now been several weeks since Mom began the process of downsizing their belongings and, wouldn’t you know it, she’s laughing more than ever, and tells me she is feeling physically stronger than she has in years. She has not stopped moving in the past three weeks -- going to the grocery store and picking up boxes, calling friends and telling them to come over and buy furniture, and she’s giving a lot away. She sounds giddy and childlike over the phone. She’s happy and looking forward to coming home to her children.

Every once in awhile, Bill continues to express his desire to stay put. He explains to Mom that there’s nothing for him in Chicago and he doesn’t want to move. Mom’s response, “Go buy a condo in Florida, and live by yourself. See how many people come to visit you. I’m going home to my children.” And when she’s finished snapping him back into reality, he pretty much clams up and goes back to watching television. Go Mom!

I’m traveling to Mom’s house this week to help her pack and ship belongings to her new apartment in Chicago. I know that when I arrive, she’s going to be so relieved, and she will be pleasantly surprised that I will be able to “finish” the job that she began.

In two weeks, Mom is coming to Chicago to start the process of shopping for household goods and furniture for their new apartment. My sisters will take on that job. It’s important that I keep delegating responsibilities otherwise I will get stuck doing everything. Mom and Bill are moving into an apartment that my husband and I own, and it’s in the same building where we live (Old Town). My goal is to have Mom and Bill’ apartment furnished and in move-in condition in six weeks. Can I do it? We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m still surprised at how well everything is going so far, and I wouldn’t put it past Bill to pull a fast one.

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