We've Crossed the River of the Denial
Do you know the adage above? (Supposedly credited to that late, great Mark Twain.) Well, my family has finally crossed it and made a serious lifestyle change. If you've been following along with my more recent posts, you know that neither of my parents is in good health. It has rapidly become apparent that they need more help. As hard as it is to admit, they need someone who can live in and be there. That person is NOT me. I don't have a medical background, I'm too emotionally involved AND I do have a job, my husband and my son and other obligations.
There are really only two options: moving to assisted living (which my parents were adamantly against; and let's face it, if it was going to happen it should have happened long ago) or finding someone to live in. Again, I know that we fortunate enough to be able to have these options. My parents are fortunate enough to be able to afford (at least for the time being) having someone live in and care for them. More importantly is the fact that we were able find help quickly.
Because my parents live in a close knit community, they have friends who have needed and had exactly the same type of care. My mother called a friend who had live in help for his wife and she was able to connect with this woman on Thursday. Saturday this woman came over and I, along with my parents, discussed the situation. Sunday, she moved in.
It was an amazingly fast decision and process. Luckily for my parents, she was available. She knows the area. She has friends in the area (including the friend of my parents who she worked for several years back). She came highly recommended by this friend of my parents (she lived with them for approximately 3 years). Other friends of my parents had knew her/had met her and had positive things to say. I guess the stars aligned.
Not that this is easy. After it was determined on Saturday that she would start working for my parents and moving in the next day, it was up to me to clean out the guest room where she would be living. That meant clearing out 6 bureau drawers in that room as well as two others in another room. Then there was the process of eliminating clothing that my parents rarely wore. Not an easy task. (I've done it myself regularly.) Then I had to bag up all those "discard" items and put them in my car. When I came home on Sunday my son and husband went through them and selected what they wanted; the rest went to the thrift shop. I took the "keep" pile and with my mom folding, moved them into two drawers in the other guest bedroom. (So basically whittling down 8 drawers of clothing and fitting them into two). I also TRIED to clean out the closet in her room (was only partly successful there) and cleaned out the guest bathroom. It was a tiring process.
I was there on Sunday when she arrived and stayed for several hours to try and get everyone comfortable. It sort of worked.
Over the past couple of days I've been checking in (via phone) more frequently. Things aren't incredibly smooth, but how could they be when a total stranger moves into your home? I know my parents aren't happy with everything...how could they be? I'm betting Marieta (their in home caregiver) isn't happy with everything either. How could she be, she's living and caring for two people she barely knows. The situation is far from ideal, but it IS working.
I pray that it continues to work. That as they get to know each other, they become more comfortable. Because this is the new reality. This is where life has led us and while it may not be ideal for anyone, it is what is BEST for all. I include myself in that as well since just having a caring individual there relieves some of my stress. (Not to worry, I've still got plenty of stress in my life.) This is what we needed.
I wish we had crossed this river before, but we didn't. It's been crossed now and hopefully the journey forward will be a little smoother or at least a little more comforting. If not for them, then definitely for me.