Note: At the time this series of articles was written, my wife Beth was still with us. She died October 11, 2012.
There is downsizing, and then there is moving to assisted living. Downsizing presents difficult choices of what to keep and what to take with you. Moving to assisted living presents impossible choices.
One way we managed to deal with it was to simply not make many of the decisions. Instead we had our daughters go through our stuff and make a lot of the choices for us, without us being present. Did we agree with every choice? Of course not. But it at least it let us whittle things down to a manageable size.
Another way to approach it is to choose between what you really need and what you think you simply can’t live without. In my case, since I knew I was going to continue to do work in the website design and graphics arts field, I definitely had to take all of my computer gear and cameras. Plus my manuals on software and programming. Beth wanted all of her art supplies, of course.Clothing was also easier for me, since I really can’t wear standard clothes anymore. I just needed to bring along half a dozen of my specially constructed pants, and a dozen or so shirts. Plus some jackets.
Beth wanted to bring enough to fill several closets so we compromised by storing winter clothes off site and bringing all of her summer clothes. Then we will have to make the switch in the fall and hope we guess right on the weather. I also gave her half of my closet for coats.
Then there are the keepsakes. How could we possibly get rid of any of the vases that people had given us over the years? Well we had to, and every few days we will remember one that would’ve been just perfect for a particular location or occasion. The other really big issue was Christmas decorations. We have been allowed to store some here underneath the facility in their basement, but that still begs the question of what we will do with them come holidays. Perhaps we will be able to use some in a common area here at Huntington Manor.
It’s my belief that the key to this whole process is to try your best to live in the present. Every time we start thinking about things we left behind it becomes difficult. But in truth, nothing we left behind is needed for our daily lives. And the real memories aren’t stored in vases or garment bags. They are in the mind.
Which reminds me to return to working on my first book, “The Society of the Creek.” It is a book about childhood, written for an adult audience. I plan to post some excerpts here.
Index for this series of articles about assisted living.