Well, we revealed my grandparents’ new apartment to them Tuesday.
As you might remember, this move to an assisted-living facility was rather last-minute so we didn’t have a lot of time to get ready. It was something we were anticipating so we’ve been doing some organization/purging projects along the way but we found out about the move, and moved them, all within 30 days.
The plan was to send them off for a long holiday weekend at their cabin while we packed up their old apartment, moved everything over, and unpacked it completely so they could just walk in and be home. They just aren’t in a position to do any of that anymore. They not only lack the physical strength and coordination, they just don’t process things well enough to think that kind of project through.
We did our best to keep things as similar as possible to the old apartment but it has a different layout and configuration so we had to make a few design and organization decisions we were really worried about. Because of this, we had braced ourselves for their disappointment and confusion. This was a huge change for my grandparents and one I’m not sure I’d be at all gracious about. Forced to move to a new home, having your grandkids go through all your stuff and determine some of it has to go and then someone else putting things away in the way that makes sense to THEM rather than the person who has to live in a space? We were just hoping to minimize the discomfort and confusion.
Not only did we put everything away, but we tried to make it all look really nice by hanging the pictures, putting out fresh flowers, and decorating for Fall.
I wasn’t able to be there for the reveal (darn day job!). Mom said that as soon as Grandma walked in the door and saw how it was set up, she broke down. It wasn’t a sad reaction. She loved it. She grabbed my Mom in a big hug and kept saying how beautiful it was.
This surprised us all. It undid Mom who cried along with Grandma and many hours later when she told me about it. This, of course, makes me cry along too. Even now.
If it made my Grandma this happy then it was worth every minute of sweat, dust, grime, and sore muscles.
I’ve yet to hear Grandpa’s reaction. He was gobsmacked and had to sit down and just look around. He will like it because it makes Grandma happy. He’ll need time to get to know his room and everything in it. He’ll find little things I did just to make him smile and he’ll know why I did it and it WILL make him smile and laugh. He’ll undo a lot of it because he is a terrible organizer but it is his space and he should nest in the way that works best for him.
I’ll just go in once in a while and pick up all the clothes on the floor and throw away the empty jars he collects and I’ll keep doing this as long as they need me to. After a lifetime of doing little things like that for me, I’m happy to be there for them both.