Packing A Life in Rubbermaid Tubs

I spent Saturday packing my mother-in-law’s belongings in twenty Rubbermaid tubs. Last week her three sons came to the sad realization that Mom needs to live in a facility where she can get constant care and supervision.  The decision was made to move her to live near Steve and me.

It felt strange to pack up her belongings without consulting her as to what to keep.  Steve and I made decisions as to what would be kept, what would be given away, and what would be thrown away.  We couldn’t transport everything to our home and she won’t have a need for much in her residence.  Her days of cooking are behind her, so her dishes and cookware were given away.  She doesn’t read much, so most of her books were donated.  We did our best to determine what items were valuable to her and to pack those items in the twenty tubs that would fit in our van.

As I packed her sweaters, letters, photo albums, and keepsakes, John 21:18 ran through my mind. “When you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 

Although her body is frail and she is often confused, she does not suffer from Alzheimer’s.  We are grateful that she recognizes her family members.  She knows that she is coming to Virginia where she will get to see little Daniel, her first great-grandchild, and that she will be here when her first great-granddaughter is born in January.  We are not sure, however, that she comprehends she is moving here permanently. 

Steve’s mom has lived a long, full life.  Her body has weakened and her mind isn’t as sharp as it once was.  The important decisions that affect her are made by her children.  She is fortunate to have raised three loving, caring sons who are committed to ensuring that she has the best possible care. 

Our oldest son is fond of saying, “I’m the one who will choose your nursing home.”  He’s teasing, yet there is truth in his words.  One day I may find myself in need of supervised care and my children will be the ones making the decisions regarding my care.  We, too, are blessed with loving, caring sons. I can rest assured that they will put the same thought and consideration into their decisions as Steve and his brothers are now doing for their mother.

Author: Susan Elizabeth Ball

Author of the Christian fiction series Restored Hearts. Book 1, Restorations, was published in October 2010 and Book 2, Reconciliations, in October 2011.

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