On Tuesday, March 17, Kathleen and I got into the carefully packed Honda van of our daughter Carolyn and son-in-law Doug and headed south from our driveway in Brampton, Ontario. Daughter-in-law June followed close behind in her car carrying breakable items.
Kathleen and I were being driven to our first overnight in our new dwelling in Mississauga, Ontario — Walden Circle Retirement Centre.
This was according to a plan that had gradually formed out of many family conversations. Our children had done their research. Jan, Robert’s wife, and her siblings had recently moved their 92-year-old father into a similar community in Kingston run by the same organization; his move had proved successful.
During the prior several months, our children had discussed the possible move among themselves, and with us. They believed the time had come for us to give up the responsibilities of maintaining our home. Their recommendation was persistent but not pushy. The decision would be ours, they said, and if we chose to remain in Brampton, they would do what they could to help us keep up that living arrangement, though this did not appear to them the better option.
As we traveled southward along the busy highway — minutes behind the moving van carrying some of our furniture — we talked freely, though with periods of silence when it seemed a hundred thoughts jostled one another.
There is in all of us, to be sure, an age-related lack of appetite for major change, and especially so at age 94, the age my wife and I have reached. And there is less energy for the hundreds of decisions involved in selling a home and moving. We testify that to time-weary seniors it all seemed a daunting assignment. Why not rest in place?
But in discussions our children assured us that they would take over the whole momentous task though relying on our counsel for details. Their assurance that they would take over the sorting, dispersing to family, selling, and moving us was no empty promise. Three children and their spouses turned out to be an enterprising team. The energy they expended was amazing and tireless.
When we finally agreed to “take the plunge,” our daughter, Carolyn, became the manager of the project. She lived near us and ran countless errands. She and Doug, with initial input from Robert, helped us select and interview realtors, took us to appointments, and accommodated the questions of others who came and went. Doug was the packer and advisor to keep us intact with the world via cable and internet.
Daughter-in-law June volunteered to find the buyers for whatever furniture and furnishings were to be sold. She had skill and experience in this sort of task. As a bonus she bought and assembled by herself a simple transparent glass-like desk for me to use in our new setting.
Our son Don found professional movers, oversaw one or two electronic glitches with grandson Jonathan Gonyou, took on the task of dispersing my many books and helped get the house ready for closing. Robert and Janice had found the specific Mississauga community that would suit our needs and were invested in the details of the move by telephone.
All of this energy and consultation diminished our apprehensions a little at a time and smoothed our path. Praise God for their every contribution. Our God is the giver of every perfect gift right down to the energy to attempt hard tasks. Facing the task pushed us toward shadow land, but family values, in full display, have dispelled the shadows.