This morning my parents left the house they’ve lived in since 1954, the house they moved into when I was a year old, the place I’ve thought of as my original home for 65 years.
How many people get to be my age and have their parents both alive at 95, still living independently in the house they grew up in? Not many. In fact no one I know.
My parents’ move to an apartment in an assisted living facility is the right move on every level. Their increasing frailty and medical issues make living on their own more and more difficult, and winters over the last several years have been particularly hard. They don’t drive in bad weather or after dark — the cold days that seem to be over in a blink mean they don’t get out of the house. Then they feel restless and isolated. Who wouldn’t? I get cabin fever myself and I go out regularly regardless of the weather.
So my sisters and all our spouses are happy about this move. We’ll worry less, and we know my parents will be comfortable, and I think happier. They won’t be weighted down by the responsibilities of keeping up a big house. Living among others in their age range will make it easy to be with other people, to make new friends, and to find other card players. Both my parents have a whip-smart bridge player past.
But when I visited my parents earlier this week it sunk in that this is it. I won’t be “going home” any more. That place in all our lives — those bedrooms where I slept (my sisters and I shifted rooms often), the kitchen where so many family meals were prepared, the living room that held so many groupings of family and friends, the den where my sisters and I watched “Rifleman” on the old black and white TV with my father, where we played our teenage rock and roll records on a turntable set on the built-in knotty pine shelves — will no longer be ours.
My younger sister and her husband are with my parents today and will take them over to their new home once the movers finish getting their apartment set up for them. My brother-in-law just texted to say they had left 429 Country Way at 9:30 this morning. Before leaving they took a moment to say good-bye to the house.
“Thank you for helping us raise a beautiful family and keeping us all safe and warm for 65 years.”
Thank you indeed.