Moving an Aging Parent from Long-Distance – Part XX


by Joy Loverde

Sharon has everything under control regarding the house sale. Her expertise as a seasoned real estate agent knows no limits, and she secured another buyer for Mom and Bill’s house immediately after the first buyer backed out and the house was once again on the market.

If you are moving a parent from long distance and there’s a house to sell, limit the time between the pending sale and closing date. I am convinced that the first buyer backed out because he found a better deal and was willing to sacrifice the funds he put in escrow. No one should ever have to go through the heart-ache of a buyer backing out of a house deal, especially if the home owners are elderly and not in good health. Mom and Bill were devastated and I sincerely believe that Bill suffered a mini-stroke because of the deal falling through.

It’s been one week since Mom returned to Florida, and in the past ten days Mom’s world has been turned upside down. My sister, Linda immediately made plans to fly to Florida to help out and pack up more things; then it was my turn to visit Mom and keep the moving process in motion. There’s no time to waste. Anything can happen. My goal is to get Mom and Bill out of Florida as quickly as possible before the roof caves in – again.

When I enter Mom’s house it’s like walking into a space that has been robbed blind. Over the weekend, Mom and her neighbors held the moving sale. Every stitch of furniture is sold. No paintings on the wall. No knick-knacks on shelves. The house is without personality and wiped clean. People love garage sales, and since Mom had priced everything to sell, the house is void of any evidence that Mom and Bill had made this house their home for the past twenty years.

The garage-sale furniture purchasers agree to leave a few items so mom can sleep on her bed, eat on her dining room table and watch television from her favorite chair. Sharon has made arrangements for the buyers to pick up their purchased items after Mom and Bill leave the house for good.

I walk around the house, room to room, inside and out, feeling sad and sick to my stomach at the same time. I recall the numerous fun times with family; grandchildren splashing in the swimming pool; Bill taking us for boat rides; fishing on the dock; and Mom cooking up a storm with incredible Italian home-made meals. The process of selling this house and moving on has now hit me emotionally. I’m overwhelmed with many memories of quality time with Mom and Bill when they were young and healthy. This morning, I had myself a good cry, and bid a fond farewell to this family house and time gone by.

Mom is sitting in her recliner when I walk in the door, and hardly makes an effort to stand up and greet me. She has the flu and is exhausted. She’s crabby, and I am not surprised. With all that has happened and a lot of work still to come, I look at her face and notice that she has aged incredibly so in the past 10 days. With a weak heart, and the flu, will she physically survive this move I wonder?