My Senior’s Journey
Mother had three strokes – a health crisis! Three words! A blink! No warning when God enacted His plan for her life; my mother’s new journey. Our focus narrowed to myriad tasks colored brightly with emotions; so many difficult decisions with safety, health care, the house, and her personal property.
The challenges we faced were hardly unique. We needed information not only about her illness but also about alternative arrangements. We needed contact with people, companies who could provide services for her and, to be honest, encouragement and solutions for us.
Clients were kind; they understood, nodding their heads remembering their own loved one’s crisis. We all knew the work went on; we rescheduled, shifted, and adjusted to maintain momentum, while my mind was always … not quite there.
I didn’t know as her heart weakened and her pace continued to slow, that this time – this was truly my mother’s senior journey. It was my ten-year path of “on-the-job” training.
We began a wondrous journey of discovery my mother and I; she, re-learning to speak, to read, to regain a measure of control in her life. For me, moving on was a mantra, then a business – Moving On! created from the love of a daughter for her mother. I found that others too need assistance in their own senior journeys.
We all called her daily with bits and pieces of our lives. You know … the ordinary, day-to-day things flavored by flashes of memories that appeared sometimes like bits of confetti swirling about, overlapping; blurring together into what became a series of cherished moments. She shared those stories, persistently weaving the continuity of family, always ending that day’s talk with, “I love you too.”
Just over five feet – she always seemed taller; still, she was simply a woman. Her life stories were compelling as she described people, places, and events never before known when she revealed past hopes and dreams; what shaped her strengths – my strengths.
She was without pretense, quite often matter of fact in her thinking, in her speaking. It was her senior’s way to smile and frown, voice pleasure, annoyance; and profound frustration when those pesky strokes affected her eyesight or made her words mixed up – that day. I learned others too, may not be taken seriously when they mumbled some words – that day!
It was hard for a mother to be gracious when losing her control. Oh! Frustration at not being able to do things how she wanted them done, or when she wanted them to happen! Her journey thus became mentoring to me; her perspectives became the why of a senior’s thinking. She taught a need for greater empathy for seniors, their family and loved ones, their fears, their hopes; allowing me to develop services for them to move on through their own senior journeys.
As we continued our path my mother and I, downsized, sorted, and appraised, we moved and shipped her things to this or that one, just as she wished, just as she said. We made sure those special things; her stuff was kept to be re-cherished by the next, and for the next, after that.
By education a teacher, she taught Third Grade, Girl Scouts, Adult Education, Sunday school, water lifesaving, and senior crafts. She also swam the Mississippi, played piano, tap-danced, was a gymnast, rode horses, grew flowers, hooked rugs, embroidered, made her own dulcimer, wove linen, handmade baskets; she cooked, baked, and sewed our clothes. She read, studied, inquired, and never stopped learning or being interested in life. She taught essential life lessons by example; by doing. Our seniors, how talented, how special. Listen!
She was a wife, beginning in the war years. As she and he traveled their life road together through their own ups and downs, she became his caretaker, helping him, consoling him during his last difficult illness. When he died – his last words were telling her that he loved her and she was a beautiful woman. How beautiful, our seniors!
She was our mother, a role in which she took the most pride. She was for us a touchstone always there as we ran, then skipped, tumbled, and stumbled through our own life journeys. Sooner than we think – we’ll be seniors too!
She marveled at the miracle of birth, rejoiced in fortune, laughed at life, admired the beauty in a rose, and looked for the good in each of us. Not truly recognizing her own brilliance, she made her work ethic a pattern of excellence. I didn’t know that my mother was truly exceptional, not until later. Planning, planning the project; a senior’s transition. Now, flawlessly, it’s completely done!
In my mother’s final journey – in her last months and weeks, a whole gamut of emotions pervaded my thoughts and permeated my dreams. As the days slipped by, somehow; somehow, I thought, she would continue to be with us; her strength, insights, her perceptions would be there continuing to bind the framework of our lives.
My memories were full of compelling images; poignant life vignettes that connected me with deep aching sadness, of loss, and then incredibly a peace, hard to describe.
I don’t know what makes those memories so poignant. Or, what makes these images and memories so treasured. I do know something about the time of my mother’s senior journey was also, at the same time, undeniably, immeasurably precious. We all have things we think about.
Then, humbly, I witnessed in awe as she accepted God’s will and looked forward to being in His presence. Then her senior journey ended and a new one began. Oh! Mama goodbye …. We wish you butterfly mornings; roses blooming, and wildflower afternoons; we wish you every glory in God’s heaven while we keep you here in our hearts.
My mother’s legacy – Moving On! Services – a continuing tribute to an extraordinary woman.
Certified Senior Advisor (Ret.)
Moving On! Services LLC
Call for your free first visit.
Moving On! Services LLC services all of Hampton Roads to Richmond Virginia, Central Virginia, and areas east to include York and Gloucester County, and the Eastern Shore. MOVING ON! provides a Single Point of Contact for as much or as little that needs to be done – related to the disposition of household items and personal property. First consultations are always free.
Our services include Downsizing Lifestyle Change, Appraisals and Auctions, Estate Liquidations, and Senior Move Specialists. Above all, we have the expertise for Aging in Place services. For example, Personal Shopping, Errand, Sort, Space Planning, Pack, Move, Unpack, Redecorate, Reorganize, Charitable Donations, Books & Bibles, Disposal of Surplus Possessions, Deep Cleaning, Organizing, and Redecorating.