Monday, April 14, 2008


At work I'm forever hearing that change is good. Sometimes it is, but most of the time I think that expression is used just to keep things on a positive level. A reminder that it will be good if you give it a chance and some time. That's not unfair, is it? So we all eagerly await for the positive results we're told are time:)

Change in our personal lives is the same way. Not always looked forward to eagerly, I think we try to convince ourselves that change, especially when we can't control it, is for the best. For one thing, we can't control everything that shapes our lives and well being because it's beyond our scope of control.

In July my Mom will have been gone a year. It doesn't seem possible. Most of the family has accepted her passing and keep her in our memories, but we have adjusted and continue on. My Dad has not. Just last night he broke down and said, "I can't let her go, Deb, I just can't." You see, my Dad lived for my Mom. As long as I can remember he placed her on a pedestal and during her last year of life he never left her side. He was truly devoted to Mom and making her happy.

The house has stayed the same. Other than cleaning out her closet nothing has been given away or moved. Dad spends his days sitting in the TV room, looking out the window at the beautiful landscaping in the back yard, barely eating or seeing to his own needs. He refuses to go anywhere, declines our invites to dinner. He's surrounded by pictures of him and Mom and the rest of the family, drowning in depression and a loss he can't live with.

Then three days ago I got a call from him, he needs my help. He's decided to move to North Carolina to live with my sister and her husband. The last thing I expected. He wants to sell everything that the rest of the family doesn't want and needs my help with pricing and later, the estate sale.

I brought him dinner last night and we sat and talked for hours. He realizes he needs a change and can't go on like he has been. Over the months he's received several invites to move in with people, even my ex-husband offered him a place to live, but Dad decided moving in with Lois was the best choice for everyone involved. My Dad is a smoker, he'll never give that up, and my sister and her husband smoke. No one else in the family does.

My sister is very happy and already building on an addition to her house so Dad can have his own place to be alone when the need arises. They're going to add lots of windows so Dad can sit and look out at the garden he'll create. That's the only hobby he has, he loves working outside.

I don't know how I feel about his decision. I know he needs to be around people, something to keep his mind busy. But not being able to visit with him whenever I want will be tough. The next few weeks will be spent cleaning out the house, selling stuff, seeing memories and familiar things go with strangers. It's going to be very hard on Dad and we all plan to be there to help him through it. To help us through it.

Since Lois and her husband are making a trip to Florida the the end of May to attend a wedding, Dad will go back with them, taking with him a little U-Haul filled with only what he needs.

A few memories to see him through the changes.


ddurance said...

I'm so sorry about your Mom. This sounds like my husband's father. His wife passed away several years ago from cancer and he has had a rough time. He still has most of her stuff as well.

Lyn said...


I'm sorry to hear your father has been having such a difficult time. The move will probably be good for him though no matter how hard it is on you. In some ways you'll have just as big an adjustment to make as he will since you won't be able to see him all the time. But there is the silver lining - when you do go see him you'll be able to spend more time since you'll have gone to visit with family and not just taken time away from your normal busy day.

Change is hard, I've had quite a bit of it in the last few years, but I have to say for me, that most of these recent changes though hard to deal with at the time have definitely been for the better overall.


Debbie Wallace said...

Yes, it's hard for some. Sad. Our family has gone back and forth with different emotions because of the frustration of not being able to help him get through this.

Debbie Wallace said...

Isn't that funny, Lyn? Sometimes change is good but in the beginning we fight it tooth and nail. I guess we're really afraid. We get in a rut, kind of:)

Anonymous said...

My sympathy on the loss of your Mom. It sounds as if you have "lost" your Dad since then or maybe he lost himself because such a big part of his life was no longer there. No one can tell how long another person needs to grieve, but it sounds as if your Dad is depressed as well and may need to see his M.D. At least he is willing to move and where he will be - with family - is a better choice than many he could make.
I'm sorry that they all smoke in that household and that it makes it impossible for you to visit, just do not give up communicating via phone or e-mail or letters.
I wish you all the best.
Yes, I've been there.

flchen1 said...

Debbie, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. That kind of change must be especially hard--my heart goes out to you and your father. I hope the move and all the preparations for it will give your dad a chance to work through all his special memories of your mother and to enjoy them while giving him a sense of closure of sorts. And I hope he'll ultimately enjoy being closer to his children.

Debbie Wallace said...

I guess we all go through this kind of thing in our life time, whether it be a parent, sibling, child or friend. All we can do is the best we can.

It's not so much the smoking, Dad is moving to NC and I live in FL:(

Debbie Wallace said...

Thanks Flchen1, funny, Dad and I talked tonight and he sounded pretty good, talking about the up-coming changes. Almost looking forward to it. It will certainly be a relief to all of us if he can find a little peace in his life and start looking ahead.