“You’re doing God’s work.” That’s what my old boss said in a text message when I told him I’d be leaving yet again for Carefree. He’d had no idea of the circumstances so I provided a quick synopsis of my year so far.

God’s work?  Indeed.

This will be the third time since March, and arguably, this may be the most difficult trip of all. We will be moving mom into her new home.  Typing these words out….new home….makes my heart momentarily feel heavy.  It’s difficult to breathe,  as if a ton of bricks have been placed on my chest.  I have to shake myself out of this heaviness.  It’s a new chapter…it’s going to be better….for everyone….especially mom.

As difficult as mom has been…and frankly, has always been…I completely understand her heart ache for leaving behind her Villa Paradiso. It’s a beautiful and unique home, designed and built under the direction of her husband–my step-father–who left us in March for eternal peace in another dimension. It is going to be very difficult on all of us–we all have cherished memories of life at Villa Paradiso– and yet it simply must be done and in the end, everyone will be happier for it. That’s the plan at least.

I have no illusions. Mom probably will continue to be unhappy. She is still adverse to admit the fact that she cannot possibly stay on her own in that gargantuan house.  Sis and I have spent countless days holding our breath in worry, waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop….as well as years of sleepless nights worrying about our aging parents. As this year began we both knew we were teetering on the precipice of unwanted change.   The shoe did indeed drop, and more.  Now, after many months fraught with drama, emotional out-bursts and much heartache after Kurt’s passing we are all finally ready for this new chapter. Once mom is in her new home, in an absolutely stunningly gorgeous continuing care community I might add, sis and I we will be able to exhale and possibly even sleep through the night once again.

Change is hard, whether its good or bad.  I’m certainly no saint in the coping department but I’m getting a lot better at it.    For our mom, dealing with all this change that is not her idea to begin with has made coping with it all extraordinarily more difficult for her and  most everyone around her. It has literally “taken a village” to get mom to the point she is today. I am eternally grateful for that village…for all the folks that have helped in the process of taking care of my mom and who offered kind words and support all along the way. In the months to come, with every fiber of my being, I hope mom finds a measure of peace and happiness for the years she has left with us in her new, beautiful home. If not….well….that is entirely her choice. It is my dream that mom chooses to escape what I believe is the hell she has created for herself–the one that shrouds her mind and her heart in negativity and judgement. Sis and I have done everything possible, and more, to help in that attempt.

Now we all have to sit back, breathe deeply, and get back to the business of enjoying each moment as much as we can.  And, as the years go by,  images like some of the ones I’m sharing here, will forever warm my heart and keep a smile on my face.

A quote from columnist, Jan Glidewell, seems to resonate today: You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.

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