Today is my birthday. It’s also the day before my 91 year old mother moves “home” to California, to a senior independent living center. She’ll have a small two bedroom, two bath apartment-style unit in a very nice place where she will have meal service and anything else she could possibly need or want. My two older brothers live in the same city, less than fifteen minutes away. Her belongings are on that “pod” you see in my photo. It will arrive on April 1st and then the unpacking will begin.
I’m happy because in June, my husband and I will also be returning “home” after 19 1/2 years here. Our daughter will hopefully join us in the fall too. I’m more than a bit sad because not only have we been going through a lifetime of accumulated things, deciding what to keep, part with, donate, trash, etc., but for the first time, I will no longer actually have a home to go to where one or both of my parents live. I realize that this place has been her last real home. The place she is going to, while it will be many important things, will not be a home for any of her children or grandchildren. It’s true I have a home with my husband (and hope I always will) but there’s no substitute for the comforting feeling of knowing you can always go home when times are tough. I’m a grown woman and have been for many years, but whenever I drove or walked up to my parents’ ( or later my mother’s) house it was with the nearly indescribable emotionally secure knowledge that here I was safe and secure and all was well.
I don’t have that any longer.