Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
    As I continue to play catch up on the blog, you will be glad to know my last post finally got my mom moved into the skilled nursing community.  (In case you have not noticed, I am making an effort to call it a "skilled nursing community" as "nursing home" has so many negative connotations...makes me feel better ;). 
     So, after moving only a few of my mom's essential personal items to her new place, there was one more slightly large order of business -- moving the rest of my mom's belongings out of the apartment she lived in for three years.  I had given 30 days notice, but the sooner I turned the keys in the sooner they might be able to find another tenant. 
     With my brother having three weeks off work, and me stopping by a couple times when I could, we somehow managed to clear everything out within a week after we had moved my mom.  My brother took most of the furniture back to my mom's condo and donated some.  I packed up the smaller stuff and tossed as much as I could.  Downsizing felt good when it came to some things, but was painful when it came to others.  Like my decision that it was time to say goodbye to these... 
     Those of you who have been following along will know that my mom's pink crocs were her favorite.  You may also remember that after one of her more recent trips to the ER, we decided to hide them as we were certain they were no longer giving her the support she needed to safely walk around.  They were well loved, worn and worth every penny.  We donated the couch and got rid of the older style tv as it would not fit in her new room.

We donated some knick knacks and odds and ends.

 I took some things home to sort through and keep or give to the appropriate person.  Remember when I made the artificial flower arrangement for my mom's balcony for Mother's Day since my mom was not able to take care of real flowers on her own!?  Also, the bolster pillow I got her to help with my mom's severe slouching problem!? 

Thankfully my husband came along with me on my last trip, with his truck.  Things went pretty quickly with him making frequent trips to the truck.

The emptier it got, the heavier my heart was...  Mixed emotions.  The relief of having her in a safer place, how much she loved living there, what a relief it would be to have her closer to my house, all the time visiting her with the kids, rushing over there when she fell, spending the nights, the staff, "The Don"...  All the trips back and forth for three years...  I remembered almost every item that came in and out of her place since I was usually the one bringing them in or taking them away.  Each trinket and stuffed animal.  Thinking, oh she loved that thing or oh she never even used that thing.  The things I had to take away because they posed a danger and the things that I had to get because they became necessities.

The earlier days when she was able to walk through her apartment without a walker and the days she had to have the walker.  They days she forgot her walker, and, of course, the days she fell in the hallway, or by the bathroom,

or in the kitchen... 

Here I was one last time in that hot apartment where I had the a/c turned down low to save energy.  I was on a mission with my sorting and tossing and donating and packing.  The last two or more months I had the time to contemplate what I wanted to do with most everything when moving time came.  Emotionally, it was yet another exhausting part of this long journey I have been on with my mom.  It was getting late and it became clear that after double and triple checking everywhere, including looking for the two rings that got "lost" along the way, it was time to say goodbye for me and for my mom.  Tears filled my eyes as I hung that little flag at my mom's door.  My husband let me have my cry and then we left!  Deep breath -- reminding myself she was in a safer place...

Apartment 147...was not ours anymore.  

I had to drop off the keys during normal business hours, so the next day I did...and I never looked back.


yaya said...

This is such a heartfelt post...so beautifully written and a guide for those who will have to make the same decisions and the same sorting out of "things"..things that were part of someone's life and yet things that are not more important than that person. I hope you're feeling better and I know your Mom is safer and in good hands.

RockinMom said...

I have enjoyed catching up on all of your posts. I continue to hold you in my thoughts as you go through this hard journey. You are doing a great job and like I have said several times before, you are an amazing daughter.

Beth said...

This post hit home with me. A few years ago, my m-i-l had a stroke and went from hospital to nursing home. Cleaning out her home and preparing it to sell was really difficult. She didn't want us to give away any of her belongings - she wanted us to store them in our basement. She always lived a frugal life and the things she did buy had special meaning to her.
You are an AMAZING daughter. As I am just beginning (well, 18 mos now) the dementia journey with my mother, I will hold you up as "the gold standard" of a caring daughter. The Bible tells us to honor our parents, and you are a fine example!
God bless you and your family.