Whew!!! This past week has been a WHIRLWIND, to say the least! So much has happened in a short time...the BIGGEST happening of all is that Mama has moved into a new apartment!
(Both Mama and me were exhausted in this photo, taken at the end of her moving day...so ignore the hair/general unkempt looks and concentrate on the smiles of relief!)
For 63 years, Mama has called this farmhouse Home. Mama and Dad bought it in 1956, before I was even born, and all four of us siblings grew up right here. It's a wonderful place filled with countless memories! But when Dad went to Heaven 4 years ago, it didn't take long for all of us to realize that Mama was not going to be able to keep up with the homestead forever. An old house that always needs something repaired, 4 acres to mow, and 60 acres of woods/farmground...it was a big job for Dad and nearly impossible for Mama. She loves her farmhouse...we all do...but after a worrisome past winter we knew in our hearts that Mama could not continue to live there alone. She was lonely and sometimes even scared, and there was nothing we could do to remedy either. Except find another solution.
My sister Barb and I had that HARD talk with Mama on May 2. We both prayed fervently about how to handle the situation and that Mama would be open to a change, knowing how difficult a change would be for her at 83 years old and having lived in that beloved homestead for over 6 decades. Mama was reluctant but listened, and agreed to let us seek out options. All four of her children offered for Mama to move in with one of us, but she would not even entertain that idea. We considered part-time in-home help, but she did not want that either. So we decided to investigate possible senior living options.
Mama does not need a nursing home...she is perfectly capable of living on her own. She just needs people around her to check in on her and keep her company, and to be free of the constant stress of maintaining the farm. Being surrounded by 63 years of accumulated "stuff" in a home where all the memories revolve around Dad was taking its toll on all of us. It was only after we moved her that Mama admitted the huge relief she felt, an invisible weight that she didn't even realize was there has been lifted off her shoulders.
Let me assure you, God is still in the business of answering prayers! Over the past 3 weeks, we've seen it time and time again as every detail of this transition has fallen so nicely into place! So now that you know the happy ending of the story, here's how it all unfolded...
Just 10 miles or so from the farm is a gem of a senior residential facility.
I was familiar with Forest Ridge because my local photography club meets there every month. It's a gorgeous place, kind of like a college dorm (except MUCH nicer!) for seniors. They have apartments for independent living as well as assisted living for those who need a little help.
With Mama's reluctant consent (Answered Prayer #1), we toured Forest Ridge on May 9. As soon as she walked through the doors, she was "wowed" and a few conversations later she had fallen in love with it! ANSWERED PRAYER #2!!!
Normally, the 2-bedroom apartments are quickly snatched up and not available. But three of the four "happened" to be vacant, so Mama had a nice selection to choose from. Answered Prayer #3. The 2-bedroom apartment Mama eventually rented is the top 3 windows on the far right side...
No more cooking!!! While Mama does have a kitchenette with a small fridge, microwave, and sink, her meals are eaten restaurant-style in this lovely dining room.
I took these photos the day of the tour...these are not her furnishings, but you can see the spacious and airy rooms....
This is the second smaller bedroom, which will be Mama's sewing room!
When we finished the tour, we knew Mama was "in"! The executive director happened to be on vacation that week, so we met with her on May 16 to sign the contract, and the apartment was HERS!
My brother Mark, who lives in Texas, had already planned to come home for a long weekend (Answered Prayer #4) so we decided we would take advantage of his Marine Corps muscles to help us move Mama's big furniture.
Answered Prayer #5 happened when Mama's friends were able to track down the Cat Lady from whom Mama adopted her cat Lovey and she was willing to take Lovey back and find her a new home! Miracles never cease!!!
Mama wanted a new couch and a couple of chairs....
...so we went furniture shopping! How fun is that???!!! I'm especially loving her new power-reclining couch...feeling a little couch-envy...
On Monday, May 20 the weather was PERFECT for moving (Answered Prayer #6...I think it's rained every other day in May before and since then...) and we loaded up Barb's truck and my trailer and the move was on!
Mark's help was invaluable that day...I truly don't know how we would have managed without him!
The new furniture was delivered....
...and Mama immediately felt right at home!
None of us are under-estimating the HUGE transition this is for her! One thing I've always admired about Mama is that once she makes up her mind, she doesn't look back and begin second-guessing herself. So once she decided, she was all in! As a matter of fact, Mama has been leap-frogging ahead of us concerning the future of the farm. We aren't even ready to tackle that yet, but she's all over it. Answered Prayer #7...she's totally at peace with eventually selling the farm!
Mama and her moving crew having lunch in the dining room on moving day...our first meal at Forest Ridge!
Her new hairdresser Betty has a beauty shop just down the hall from Mama's room. What a fun gal she is! They hit it off right away (Answered Prayer #8)...she had us laughing from the get-go!
I'm loving this sign in Betty's shop!
Mark spent the first night with her before he left on Tuesday, and then I stayed with her Tuesday night. We went to the knitting club, which meets once a week on Mama's floor.
A surprise Welcome bouquet from our sweet and thoughtful cousin Lisa!
While this big change is bittersweet for all of us, we know that it is a great decision for Mama and such a relief!
We are thanking God for answered prayers, for...
...Mama's new digs.