Moving an Aging Parent from Long-Distance Part VII


by Joy Loverde

It’s 3 a.m. I can’t sleep in a pleasant sort of way. My body is tired but my mind is racing. Did I complete everything I set out to accomplish before I head back to the airport? For three days I’ve been working on the move non-stop, and I’m pretty sure my job here is done, at least for the time being.

Several days ago, I flew to Florida to help Mom and Bill pack up their belongings. I went through drawers, closets, attics, and cabinets, sorting and discarding along the way. The goal was to pack household goods and clothing that they will take with them to their new home. Twenty boxes later, Mom and I drove to the UPS Store to have their items shipped to me in Chicago. Who knew AAA would kick in with a discount? Nice surprise. I also sent the boxes to my home office and that qualified me for yet another discount (business versus residential). The money is going to start flying out the window and every dime counts.

What didn’t get shipped to Chicago was placed on the back patio for the moving sale. Bedroom furniture, tables and chairs, sofas and recliners, millions of vases and knick-knacks and Tupperware, dishes and glasses, pots and pans, and unidentifiable items will be sold for a song or given away.

I want to cry so badly and I keep holding it in. If I lose it, Mom will, too. I am being stoic for her. It is so hard for me to see all of her once-beloved belongings spread out on make-shift plywood tables ready for strangers to buy at the sale. Each item tells a story of the stages of her life. Many are familiar items from my childhood that she has kept in her possession – until now. She no longer has a need for them. I must be strong and accept this.

In the meantime, Bill has done very little to help with the move. He does not want to move, and yet he has zero friends and family in Florida. I secretly wonder if Bill will figure out a way to get out of this relocation situation. If he does, it won’t be the first time that someone I knew sabotaged a move.

Last night, Mom and I sat outside on the back patio, amidst all her stuff that is on display for the moving sale, and I listened as she told me how much she will miss seeing the palm trees sway in the wind. She is very sad, and I will never forget this precious conversation and these past three days as long as I live.

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