This is not just about me. It is about you too.
This is what I imagine myself saying to my grown kids.
In March, my mom died. She was 78, just 19 years older than me. (TickTock)
The disaster of her death sent my already challenged family-of-origin spinning from our normal gulf of confusion into an uncharted sea of calamity.
In the end, it was a full-blown, ocean-sized Tsunami. I refuse to let my own children, go through the Hell that I am only now, beginning to escape from.
My maternal grandmother’s last spoken words to me (on her death bed,in her own home) over twenty years ago were about a similar, tragic situation.
She warned me, referring to an enormous rift between my cousins, over their mom’s death debacle; “Do NOT let this happen to your children.”
My grandmother was 100% Danish. Her Scandinavian heart was gentle but these words were spoken with a Viking might that meant she was dead serious.
At ninety, she proclaimed to me that now she felt old, and we made a pact that I would not let her be put into an “Old-Folks Home.” (This was 1995, and that is what she called it.) She and her three siblings had struggled fiercely over what to do with thier own mother.
I have decided to take the the sum of these familial experiences and create an achievable plan that will hopefully avoid some of the painful pitfalls I witnessed.
The place you live as you enter the “golden years” will determine much about how this plays out. My mom lived in an elevated, remote beach house. I had tried for the past five years to get her to move to a more accessible, reasonable space to “age-in-place.”
Her excuses were numerous; she stubbornly resisted and stayed put. So to actively embrace the unavoidable, next phase of my life, I have put a contract on a very small duplex.
It has a ground floor unit and an upper floor unit. It needs work. I plan to fix it up, one level at a time. The ground floor level will be an elder-friendly/gracefully-gray space. The upper-level unit can be rented out to produce income or possibly house a care-taker, if that need eventually arises.
I want to do this when my mind and body are still fully functioning. I saw how swiftly my mom’s life-force was altered and in the end, destroyed by disease. I am scheduled to close the day I turn 59.5. I will continue to share this journey with you. Stay tuned…