I recently wrote a 23-part blog series about moving my Mom and her husband, Bill long distance from Florida to Chicago. It was quite an ordeal in spite of the fact that they were motivated to move (at least Mom was). I plan to post that series once this one has ended.
Now I am faced with a move of a different nature – helping my Aunt move out of the home that she has lived in for over 50 years. The difference between this situation and Mom’s move is my Aunt refuses to move. It is no longer safe for her to live alone. Her plan is to do nothing. She has made that very clear to me.
One more thing. I am not advocating that everyone has to eventually move out of their house. Bringing help in, including professional caregivers, family members, and friends, is certainly an option for many; but not in this case. There were plenty of clues along the way that lead me to realize this was an inevitable move.
My wonderful Aunt is 79 years old and has experienced her share of personal challenges including the death of a beloved daughter who died unexpectedly. My cousin left behind a two-year old (her husband would die of an overdose several months later). The granddaughter became the love of my Aunt’s life. To this day they are inseparable.
Moving her would be like moving mountains. And if anyone was foolish enough to bring up the subject of moving, she would strongly suggest changing the subject immediately… or else.
Over time, I learned to ask seemingly innocent questions… What are your plans to keep up the yard work? What keeps you up at night? What will you do if you can no longer go up and down the stairs?
No matter what I asked, her response was always the same. “It doesn’t matter what happens, I’m not moving.”
Yet, something about my Aunt’s statement did not ring true to me. Most people are not willing to give up total control and power when it comes to making important decisions. My Aunt is no different. She was running scared.
While I realized that I could never get her to agree with me on anything related to the subject of moving, I knew she was hearing what I was saying.
The lesson here is this: Never underestimate the power of voicing your concerns. Even though our elders may not take immediate action regarding anything you have to say, they cannot deny that they hear you. Sometimes they simply need time to adjust to what is being said.
To be continued.