A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Friday, March 9, 2007

My Dad's things

Next week we’re going to Las Vegas for a few days for Ed’s conference, and then to Chicago to visit my dad. He’s in a nursing home and not doing too well. A few years ago he moved to Chicago at the age of 81 because he wanted “to go back home.” Dad’s always had a bad back and it was getting progressively worse – partly, I’m sure, because he left the warm dry air of Tucson to live in the cold, damp air of Chicago. But he finally found a physician who said he could help him.

Two years ago he underwent major surgery – probably not a wise decision at his age and in his physical state. And, frankly, I’m angry that the neurosurgeon convinced him to do it. He’s never been the same. Went from living totally independently to spending one month in the hospital, four months in a nursing home, then moving to Assisted Living. Eights months later he was back in the nursing home and that’s where he is now. He’ll never get any better than he currently is, and it’s so sad to see him living in one room, wishing he could still drive, not being able to go anywhere unless one of us takes him there, spending his time watching tv and waiting for someone to visit.

When he moved, we put all his stuff in storage hoping that someday he’d need it again – knowing in our hearts that he probably wouldn’t. So now, after almost two years, it’s time to disperse his things. I called the storage place last week to arrange to go through the boxes to be sure we recover anything that has emotional value, and to find out what they could do to help us with the remainder. The supervisor told me that they could, for a fee, take it all to a dumpster! I asked if they could give it to a charity and he said, no, all they could do was dump it. I fell apart. I’d had a really busy and stressful week at work and to hear this news, on top of all that, was just too much. Those are my dad’s thing! The bookcases that he loved. The new kitchen table set that we helped him buy. The painting of piano keys that my brother bought for him. So many things. The thought of all of them winding up in some landfill just broke my heart. My poor daughter had to listen to my mini-meltdown - thank god she was home!

Luckily my aunt (who lives in Chicago) was able to find a local charity with a truck that would pick up whatever we didn’t want to keep. So now we’ll spend one day going through everything one last time and putting aside the special things, and the next day loading the remainder on the truck for the charity. At least his things will have homes. And at least we still have him for awhile longer.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

I don't know what more to say about this other than the whole situation sucks. I'm so glad Auntie ML helped you find a charity to donate his stuff to though. The thought of it going into a dumpster was just awful!

Give the old curmudgeon a hug for me, please.