One of the hardest things in life is watching your parents get older. Although sometimes they age gracefully and have very productive lives after retirement, that is not always true. This is a short blog about the past several weeks with my beloved parents.
After fifty plus years of marriage, my parents were the ordinary middle class old folks. They’ve worked hard for as long as I can remember, always providing what we needed and more. We were blessed and yes, probably even a little spoiled. I, along with two brothers, were a handful to say the least, but Mama and Daddy were good parents. They loved us, we knew that, even though it was rarely spoken. They ruled our house with discipline, as it should be. We knew better than to ask for something again if we’d already been told No. Daddy didn’t have to say much of anything. We learned early on when he gave us the “look” it was time to hush. I don’t resent them for any of it, I learned well from the hand I was dealt in life.
Now, almost fifty years later, I look back at my memories and I’m thankful. As we pack all of their belongings, at least all that we can take with them, it’s hard to look back though. They loved stuff, and accumulated a lot of it. They loved to go to yard sales and flea markets, buying all kinds of treasures to stack up here on Earth. It’s true that you never realize how much stuff you have until you start to move. My parents had more than most, almost hoarders actually. They weren’t like the shows on tv where you have to dig through their house to get to them, but it is unbelievable how much stuff they had packed in that house. In fact, weeks later, we are still going through stuff. Deciding what to keep, sell, or trash is no fun task, but I suppose it’s easier now than later.
Daddy had some serious health issues that came up, having him in and out of the hospital and a rehabilitation center for several months. Once he returned home, he was not the same. His physical. And mental limitations were many. Mama had her own problems and her health hadn’t been good for years. The upkeep on their house and property was just more than they could handle and their fixed income wasn’t enough to hire help. After much discussion, it was decided they would sell everything and move to town, taking only what they needed.
We found an apartment that they liked in a complex that was just for seniors. I never would have believed that my parents would like this, but so far they are content. They’ve made a few new friends and they are closer to their church and the grocery and drug stores. Letting go of the stuff was much harder for them than me, but I’m not as old as they are either. They are from a different time, a time where you didn’t just throw things away, you fixed them. We could all learn a lesson in that.