Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Estate Sale: Downsizing a Life

The sign went up as we left after pricing the leftovers of a life whose scope has been steadily shrinking over the past handful of years. First, to fit the retirement apartment, then the one-room assisted living suite. But her last illness has put Mom into a nursing home for the foreseeable future. A helluva way to spend her 104th birthday.

And I am so thankful that out-of-town family showed up anyhow! Here, my dotter and her cousin, the Other Niece from Memphis, who really saved my life. I don't think I could have closed out Mom's place by myself. They, plus the wonderful bro, did all the heavy lifting.

Prices on the assorted brick-a-brac and remaining furniture were extremely modest; merely an incentive to keep lookers honest.

I also thank the bro for inserting a light moment in an otherwise very grim and gloomy day. He has always had that talent. The dolly had carried all the pictures and other family items to the cars for a trip to my place.

Such an oppressive emptiness! But Mom couldn't stay; she is very, very tired.


Hermano said...

We are a photogenic lot, aren't we??


JuliaR said...

I am sorry about this but I suppose most of us will face it eventually. It's good to know how it should be done. My parents are only 77 and 79 and they still travel on their own but they are starting to see the end of the road too. They are starting to downsize and plan for the inevitable, which is good for all of us.

Steve said...

It's nice that you had the help. My brother went through it with our mother. I was out of the country. My wife and I went through it with her mother. Never easy, but we all do the best we can. You are an exceptional woman to blog about it.

Granny J said...

Photogenic, eh? Speak for yourself, little bro!

juliar -- bro & I packed the family mementos earlier, so it only took part of a day to pack and price. A short time, but oh so difficult!

steve -- somehow it seemed only fitting & proper to write about the experience, tho it was hard to do. I will return later with pix of the family as gathered!

pb said...

How fortunate to still have your Mom!

I understand the sadness of the occasion, though.

My prayers are with you.

Jan said...

granny j, my heart aches for you. I understand what you are going through. My heartfelt good wishes go out to you, and your family, and especially to your dear mother.

sheoflittlebrain said...

I'm so glad you've had your family at this time, GJ. It means so much, not only for the physical work, but the emotional support:)
I think of your lovely Mom's downturn with sadness...still she's had a hellofa run..bless her..

Granny J said...

pb -- thank you for your heartfelt thoughts...

jan -- I appreciate your thinking of me.

brain -- yes, she did have a helluva run, didn't she. I'm sure she would much rather go out with a bang than a whimper.

Melanie A. said...

So many people in assisted living have to make this transition to yet-more-assisted living-- I'm surprised the facilities don't offer some kind of packing service, especially considering how emotionally draining it is for the family to help with the move.

I haven't helped my own mother downsize yet, but am reading your accounts in preparation for, yes, a grim and gloomy day.

meggie said...

How sad. But, of course, you are right. When tiredness arrives, it is best to rest.
I have been there, & done the packing & it is so hard.

Granny J said...

melanie -- at least one should be able to hire a packer to whom one can point things out and say which box, as in keep or sell/give away.

meggie -- indeed it is very hard

quilteddogs said...

I am so very, very sorry to hear about the new change in your mom's life. Hopefully, she will be able to quickly adapt to these new circumstances.

On the brighter side is the fact that you still have your mom in your life and it sounds like she has been in fairly good health. Not too many people live to 104!

smilnsigh said...

Yes, these times are sad. Not much else to say...

You are lucky though, with having help. I was an only child and I cleaned out the 2 story family home, by myself.

I don't mean that I lifted everything. I did the decision making. And took care of those things I could carry. So many decisions and memories.

-shakes head- Not a happy time.

Be so glad you had help.


Catalyst said...

GJ - I'm so sorry. I had missed this post. A sad time, indeed, but you can live for many years on the joyful times with her.

Granny J said...

qd -- she's pretty resilient for her age & I think that she's gradually adapting. It's harder for her because her short-term memory is almost shot!

SnS -- that sounds a lot rougher than it has been for me, with all the family about. And a 2 story house, to boot!

Cat-A -- we had some pretty good Scrabble games as recently as last year! Did I mention that I finally started beating her when she reached 100?

Lucy said...

Yep, the lifting's the easy bit.

So sorry GJ, with someone as tough and sound as your mum I suppose it seemed as if it might never happen, but let's hope she's calm and comfortable and your family continue to be a support for one another.
God bless.

Granny J said...

Thank you so much, Lucy. The family was absolutely the greatest!

Lane said...

The photo of me dad is fab! That one is worth framing. Aunt B's painting for $15 got a sad moan and tear out of me. I'm so sorry you are having to feel all that stuff and am glad some fam and friends were there for a time. Probably harder now. Ouch.


Granny J said...

Lane -- a lot easier while all the fam was here, believe me! Oh, it hurts to see Mom so diminished!

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