a moving experience

By: ewhite422

Sep 14 2010

Category: Uncategorized


I need an attitude adjustment about moving my parents into their new house 5 doors down today.  I’m happy they’re moving.  It was my idea!  But I am dreading going through all my mother’s things and “fighting” with her about what to keep and what to let go of.

She keeps everything.  I even found old checkbooks of mine when I was in college at Baylor.  They had my social security number printed right on the check!

Then there was the dress she wore as mother of the bride to my wedding in 1973.  I tried to put it in the pile for the disabled veterans organization that calls about every 2 weeks for donations.  “No,” she said, “They can’t have it.”

I pointed out that some of the leather coats have dust on them that resemble what we used to spray on Christmas trees to turn them white.  “No,” she said again, “They can’t have them either.”

“Mom, I can’t stand this outfit…you don’t look good in it, and you haven’t worn it in 10 years!”  I said undiplomatically.

“No,” she said, “I am keeping it.”

“This is the bowl that your father used to eat cereal out of every day,” she pointed out, after I gave up on her closet and moved to the kitchen.  I’m sorry, I know I’ll regret my selfish, only child reaction, but I couldn’t help it, I rolled my eyes.  It was ugly!

This move is upsetting to her, I know.  Because of her disease, (Lewy Body Disease) she can’t remember the verb that she wanted to put with the subject of the sentence she just started.  But she does remember how to say, “No,” when it comes to parting with her things. 

I need to be patient and kind.  I need to be understanding.  I need…a lobotomy.


7 comments on “a moving experience”

  1. When we are old, letting go of “things” is akin to letting go of a part of yourself, letting go of our memories which we want to keep close to us. Looking at or touching those “things” is remembering how we felt when we put on that leather coat or when we used those dishes, the dress you wore to your daughter’s wedding, evidence that you had reared a “good” girl. From your old auntie: don’t take anything from her that she still values. The time will come when those memories have slipped away, let her enjoy them for now.

  2. Reblogged this on Elaine White and commented:

    This was posted 3 years ago. She is in an assisted living home now. How I wish she could still fight with me.

  3. My dad had lewy body dementia, too. It’s the weirdest combination of alzheimers and parkinsons in terms of symptoms. Put the stuff in boxes that you label in some way so you KNOW it’s stuff you want to donate when she is gone or unable to care about what happens to that stuff. Dad and Mom moved before he was diagnosed and he wanted EVERYTHING moved because he couldn’t physically be there to see what was being packed. A whole basement full of stuff he hadn’t seen or used in 10 years…

  4. Dad and Mom had lived in that one house for 40 years. I think he knew that things were changing and a move was the safest thing for both of them. Their neighborhood had deteriorated badly, and he was an amputee on dialysis confined to the living room and dining room of a townhouse he’d worked most of his life to pay for. It wasn’t fair to spend whatever remaining days he had as a prisoner in his own house (at least that’s the argument I gave him for moving closer to us). He stayed down here, 300 miles away, while Mom and a grandson went home to pack up the house over the next two months. Then the move happened, and the unpacking is still not complete after 7 years. Such is life. LBD took a terrible toll on Mom as the primary caregiver. The neurologist never told us what was wrong with dad (don’t get me started on the medical community…) and never offered any suggestions about what we should do. No support whatsoever. He woke up one afternoon and it was 1957 and he was mad at Mom about something she’d said back then. That lasted two solid months! He accused her of having affairs with total strangers, with the UPS man, with the neighbors…TO the neighbors in front of her. She lived in total fear for that whole year. Whenever he was hospitalized I stayed overnight with him so he could sleep. (he was afraid of dying when nobody was there at night) We muddled through a year of hell and one day in the midst of dialysis, during a “clear” week when Dad knew who we were, he told them to stop the treatment and let him go home to die. He’d had “enough” medical treatment and he was done. Six long days later he was free of LBD and we began to try living again.

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