It has always caused me to ponder when going through the things we purchase in our day to day life as I sort through them and decide if an item is worthy of making the move to a new place. I have done this personally for myself in several moves, but because we were always moving from a smaller place to a larger one, I didn't have to down-size.
Moving parents is a much different experience. With my mom and Terry's, they moved from a place with lots of storage to a smaller place, then after a number of years, to the rest home. I remember how difficult it was to sort down to a one bedroom apartment for my mother from a 3 bedroom house. Then, to half a room in Senior Village. All the siblings came and took the things they had purchased for my parents. (furniture and nick-knacks) That took care of a lot of things. The items that were duplicates were put in a garage sale. Much of that sold. We went through the same type thing with Terry's mom this past week.
With our mothers, we had some similar challenges. There were many cards and pictures. We saved the pictures and the cards that had a handwritten message in them. There were many that were only signed. Because there were so many cards, we did throw those away unless they were really old or from someone in the family. Still, what to do with them???
Terry had made his folks a ceder chest when he was in high school. There were precious mementos in it along with some old pictures. We sorted them according to which sibling each item pertained to. When we see them next, or if we regain some energy, we will send them in the mail. Either way, they will find a home in the appropriate place.
Terry and I spent hours and hours going through all of Viola's things. I thought of how much love was put into some of the purchases and the work involved in the things they bought to maintain their home. Viola had to leave a lot of these things behind. She does have a few things in her room, but the bulk of her possessions were gone through and sorted.
People of her small town saw our pickup truck outside her house and came to inquire about Viola. The things that were said over and over were, "I'm really going to miss having her here. Her smile was the best. I'll have to go to Perryton to see her."
She will be 98 years old this summer. I wondered how it was that she didn't go 'under the radar' like so many of my elderly family members in the past. She remained current even though she didn't go out much into public for a year. One of her care-takers said that Viola had taught her a lot about love and life during their time together. (Maybe that is why Terry is such a good man. With a mother like that, he had to be.)
She has only been in the nursing home a week and the nurses and aids love her. They comment on her smile and great attitude. She has made friends and plays bingo. She takes her walker to her room at a pretty good clip for her age. She is upbeat and happy to see us every time we drop by to see her. I think what I have learned this week...again...is that possessions don't make up a life...the person living the life does. Viola Ruby is an inspiration. I'm just her daughter-in-law, but she has taught me to keep smiling, even when circumstances aren't exactly what I would prefer. I hope she is around as long as she is able to live without being in too much pain. I know I have more lessons to learn from her.