Moving an Aging Parent from Long-Distance – Part XII


Here comes the fun part - gathering my sisters and Mom for an apartment-shopping excursion.  Since we choose mid-week to accomplish this goal, I take a day-off work because that’s the only time everyone else is available. I had promised myself early on that I will be selective regarding the number of days I do not report for work knowing full well that choosing eldercare over work can and will get out of hand if I don’t manage my personal/vacation days right now.

Mom is extremely cost-conscience and we choose to shop at furniture outlets that won’t break the bank: Costco, Ashley Furniture, Ikea, JC Penny, Hobby Lobby, Home Decorators, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx,  and Value City Furniture. We discover that there are plenty of wonderful selections for every room in the house at every store. Ultimately, the decision on where we made our final purchases was based on the amount of money the company was going to charge us to deliver the furniture. We discovered huge discrepancies and ended up buying most of the furniture from one store (Value City) and saved a lot of money on delivery charges.

Mom has specific ideas on how she wants to decorate her apartment and I’m all in favor of keeping her in the driver’s seat. To make the process as easy as possible for her, I took photos of her apartment ahead of time and carried them with me on my IPhone. I also pre-measured the rooms, walls, window heights, nooks and crannies, and recorded those measurements as well. As we shopped we kept referring to the photos and measurements so ensure that the items will fit into the apartment.

As grueling as any long shopping day can be, I see Mom is clearly enjoying the process – especially since it includes being with her three daughters all day long. It was fun and one of those memorable days. Seeing Mom this happy warms my heart.

At the day’s end we’re all exhausted and content that buying the substantial pieces of furniture is behind us. My sisters go their separate ways, and Mom comes home with me to enjoy the family’s company for a few more days before she heads back to Florida.

Sunday morning, Mom and I are reenergized and in the mood for more shopping. This time our shopping list includes smaller items like lamps, table cloths, wall hangings, and pillows. We head for Wal-Mart.

Watching Mom shop is a delight, and I observe a change in her for the better. At the beginning of the move process, she was frail and vulnerable and unsure of herself. Today she’s assertive and more demanding. She wants what she wants and is eager for the move to go smoothly.  I’m enjoying watching this transformation in Mom.

And there we were, in the tablecloth isle at Wal-Mart, when my phone rang. I notice that the caller is Mom’s real estate agent, Sharon Kerr. I’m wondering why in the world she’s calling me early on a Sunday morning. This can’t be good news. And it’s not.

I answer the phone and listen intently as Sharon tells me the buyer of the house has backed out of the deal. Both Sharon and I are at a loss of words and I hide my face from Mom. This situation is going to crush Mom (and Bill) and I must somehow prepare them for this devastating news.  I say nothing to Mom as I hang up the phone with Sharon. My heart is breaking for her.