FINALLY FRIDAY: Transitions…

On Wednesday, I got up early to write because I knew I was only going to have a partial day at my desk. My niece, Amy, had contacted me and asked if I’d be able to help move some of her mother’s things from the home her parents built in the mid-1970s to an apartment in an independent living center. Sharleen, my sister-in-law, had been living there alone since my brother passed away three years ago.

Naturally, I said, “Yes.”

Shar…in days gone by.

I remember all too well when my sister and I moved our mother out of the home my husband had built for Mom to the very same independent living center. The move was fraught with emotion. You try to stay positive for your loved one but inside you’re dying a bit because change is hard and this change means your loved one is not the same person you want them to always be.

In my sister-in-law’s case, her health has declined since my brother died. Actually, even before that, the stress of caring for my brother at the end of his life took a heavy toll. Shar loved my brother almost as long as I’ve been alive. (I was five when they got married.) After he passed away, she tried to carry on with her business (Buchanan Hollow Nut Company), her art (watercolors) and her life, but her health just hasn’t been up to it. Depression is so not in her nature, but some days were too hard to get out of bed.

Christmas was a turning point. Shar made the decision. She needed people and routine in a safe, warm environment–not alone in a huge house twenty-five miles from town.

We all have good memories of this place. Shar’s room is directly above where my mother stayed. It’s only been a few days, and Shar told me yesterday she’s not sure she’s ready for this, but the people are friendly and so far she’s won several robust games of Scrabble. Fingers crossed the transition goes smoothly.

I’m sleeping better knowing she’s safe, but I’ll feel even better when I know she’s happy, too.

Have you had to deal with this sort of thing with a loved one? I’d be happy to pass along any tips for a smooth transition to Amy and Shar. Below is one of Shar’s watercolor paintings hanging in my house.




2 thoughts on “FINALLY FRIDAY: Transitions…”

  1. Beautiful watercolor.

    Back in ’86, my maternal grandma went to live in a nursing home–her heart. In my Pennsylvania-German Brethren family (Plain People in Lancaster County), when this happens, a loved one auctions off everything. (I’ve been to a lot of family auctions over the years.) We spent months clearing out the house to ready it and the contents for the auction. Knowing there will be no inheritance, if someone wants something, it has to be bought. I was a college student at the time, and working my way through, so I had limited funds. I bought her silver plate flatware service for twelve, a pink square tablecloth, and I have a few things my parents bought. Grandma had bought her silver plate one piece at a time at the local grocery store. It wasn’t uncommon for women to buy things for their “hope chests” in the thirties and forties.

    Tuesday, it will be twenty-six years since she passed away. A few months after my wedding.

    • What a lovely memory, Denise! Thanks so much for sharing. I’d never heard that about auctioning off possessions, but it sounds like a very good idea. It might make some people treasure items more if they have to pay for them. Not you, of course, your purchases would have been treasured no matter what. I’m afraid some family members feel very “entitled.” When my mother passed, my sister and I tried very hard to make sure every family member had something special to keep of Mom’s. We’re not talking high value items, but gifts and small treasures that meant something to Mom. It was very challenging, but it gave us time to remember Mom in ways we might have overlooked. Good memories.

      You are lucky to have known your grandmother. I’m lucky my mother lived to 95 so my children had a chance to know her well. (I was born late in her life. My older siblings’s children are about my age.)

      Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary.


      PS: my mother called hers a “hopeless” chest. 😉


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