Thoughts from an Adult Child
What it means to be a child of
When my mother decided more than 12 years ago to move to Lambeth House, I thought, "O.K., whatever." With her three children out of state, she said it was the logical move and she kept saying "I do not want to be a burden to you." The house was sold, then came the move. There was a lot of furniture, things went here, things went there, to brother, to sister, to the thrift shop, to cousins, to Lambeth House and to the trash. I spent my entire Thanksgiving vacation packing things, making five trips a day from Metairie to Broadway. Going from a three-bedroom home to a two-bedroom apartment was a challenge, but it worked. We were all able to go through 20+ years of accumulated memories, souvenirs and, well, stuff. And there was lots of stuff. It took humor, sadness and a lot of "Wow I forgot about that" or, "Oh I always loved that!" Somehow we got it down.
Her new apartment was beautiful. Furniture I grew up with had new places and commanded new attention. "Where did that come from?" was asked more than once, with the answer, "Oh... we had it at the other house." It was in the dining room or the back bedroom somewhere in the house where I had spent my first 20 years. In her new apartment she was surrounded by the things she loved, moved into the light. It was beautiful.
Now she has made the next step. She has moved to assisted living, because she needs more care. Another move, but just down a few floors. This was the plan, this is what she signed up for many years ago. She knows better than all of us what it meant, and I thank her for it. I have seen my friends caring for their parents in their living rooms, because a hospital bed could not fit into the house—struggling with the daily care required for their aging parents who wanted to stay in their home. I thank her for what she did years ago.
As I moved her things, other residents in the elevator, in the hall, asked "How is your mother?" I said, "She has moved to the 4th floor." They said, "I am sorry." I said, "No, don't be. This is why she and you are here. This is where you want to be."
As a child of Lambeth House, I say, "Thank you. Thank you for what you have done, for the intelligent choice you made. Thank you for not making me and my brother and sister go through what so many others are going through." Assisted living is not one foot in the grave. It is the next step in life. My mother is in a place she knows, where she is loved, cared for and surrounded by the things she loves. How perfect.
Now I look in the beautiful room, where my father smiles down from his portrait. I know all is well.
– Helen M.