Monday, April 14, 2008


At work I'm forever hearing that change is good. Sometimes it is, but most of the time I think that expression is used just to keep things on a positive level. A reminder that it will be good if you give it a chance and some time. That's not unfair, is it? So we all eagerly await for the positive results we're told are time:)

Change in our personal lives is the same way. Not always looked forward to eagerly, I think we try to convince ourselves that change, especially when we can't control it, is for the best. For one thing, we can't control everything that shapes our lives and well being because it's beyond our scope of control.

In July my Mom will have been gone a year. It doesn't seem possible. Most of the family has accepted her passing and keep her in our memories, but we have adjusted and continue on. My Dad has not. Just last night he broke down and said, "I can't let her go, Deb, I just can't." You see, my Dad lived for my Mom. As long as I can remember he placed her on a pedestal and during her last year of life he never left her side. He was truly devoted to Mom and making her happy.

The house has stayed the same. Other than cleaning out her closet nothing has been given away or moved. Dad spends his days sitting in the TV room, looking out the window at the beautiful landscaping in the back yard, barely eating or seeing to his own needs. He refuses to go anywhere, declines our invites to dinner. He's surrounded by pictures of him and Mom and the rest of the family, drowning in depression and a loss he can't live with.

Then three days ago I got a call from him, he needs my help. He's decided to move to North Carolina to live with my sister and her husband. The last thing I expected. He wants to sell everything that the rest of the family doesn't want and needs my help with pricing and later, the estate sale.

I brought him dinner last night and we sat and talked for hours. He realizes he needs a change and can't go on like he has been. Over the months he's received several invites to move in with people, even my ex-husband offered him a place to live, but Dad decided moving in with Lois was the best choice for everyone involved. My Dad is a smoker, he'll never give that up, and my sister and her husband smoke. No one else in the family does.

My sister is very happy and already building on an addition to her house so Dad can have his own place to be alone when the need arises. They're going to add lots of windows so Dad can sit and look out at the garden he'll create. That's the only hobby he has, he loves working outside.

I don't know how I feel about his decision. I know he needs to be around people, something to keep his mind busy. But not being able to visit with him whenever I want will be tough. The next few weeks will be spent cleaning out the house, selling stuff, seeing memories and familiar things go with strangers. It's going to be very hard on Dad and we all plan to be there to help him through it. To help us through it.

Since Lois and her husband are making a trip to Florida the the end of May to attend a wedding, Dad will go back with them, taking with him a little U-Haul filled with only what he needs.

A few memories to see him through the changes.


Kathleen said...

Oh Debbie this sounds like a good move for him but a loss for you. Be good to yourself during these weeks of packing and letting go of things. Surrond yourself with good friends, good books and good food.

margaret blake said...

Change can be inspiring. Of course it is painful too but I am sure you will find some of your changes positive...eventually. Just be kind to YOU during this traumatic time.


Debbie Wallace said...

Thanks Kathleen but I think I'll be okay. I've always been the strong one in the family, the last one to cry if you know what I mean. I keep it together for everyone else and then later, I let go.

Debbie Wallace said...

I will, Margaret. We've been trying to get Dad to make a decision about his future since Mom passed so his doing so is a big relief. Chocolate will take care of the rest:)

and maybe some sweet ice tea

Sarita Leone said...

Oh Debbie I am sending hugs your way. It sounds like you are ready to do this but I'll bet it will still be tough at times. I agree with the other Larks. Please be good to yourself during, and after, this stressful time. I wish we lived closer. I'd come and lend a hand. But please know I'm sending a long-distance hug.

Kathleen said...

Debbie, Chocolate and sweet tea are definitely required. I find that nature helps too. Sometimes I watch the Heron fishing in the reservoir and feel my batteries recharged.

Debbie Wallace said...

That's sweet of you Sarita, thanks! Just the offer makes me feel better:)

Debbie Wallace said...

Kathleen, I know what you mean. On my way to work in the mornings, we're talking 4:00, I sometimes see deer along the side of the road. That sight always lifts my spirits. I look for them every morning.