My parents have owned the same house for over 54 years. Think about that for a moment. When was the last time you moved house? How many times have you moved in your adult life?
Two years ago, they realised that somewhere in the near future there might be a possibility that they would begin to need some assistance. Their house is a big old Queenslander and upkeep of the yard and building was starting to become too much for them both. So, we started making plans to take them in under our roof.
Now there are a number of things that are fairly obvious to anyone making these kinds of decisions. For example, my parents wanted to maintain their own living space and their own car. My mother loves to cook, and she is a quilter of some note, so it was important for her that these activities could be maintained. In other words, they wanted to retain their own independence. These were simple matters to agree upon, and while the pragmatic implementation of some of these things took a little discussion, in the main they provided no hindrance to progress.
We started looking for suitable homes that could house two separate family units. We saw many that might have been suitable. Most would require some minor alterations, but that presented no problem to us either. As time went by, it looked like my parents were having second thoughts about moving in with us. When I raised this with them, they assured me that they were still keen to proceed. I finally realised that this "reluctance" was not about the new house.
It was all about leaving the old.
Despite my assurances that they could, would and should remain independent as long as they felt comfortable, leaving the house that had been the family home for over 54 years was similar to a death in the family. There was a process of leaving and separation that could not occur over just a few days or even weeks. And like the five stages of grief we all go through with the death of a close friend or family member, time needed to be given so that this process could be properly dealt with. Leaving the family home meant that a time of grieving and reconciliation was needed so this season of my parent's life could be completed properly.
We are all faced with decisions that a sometime unpalatable to us. Sometimes, the harder the decision, the longer we take to make it. I'm not just talking about procrastination. Procrastination will rarely change the decision once it is made. But sometimes we need time to allow our heart and soul to catch up with the decision the brain has already made. This is not to say that the decision was hasty, but it's our heart that grieves, not our brain. Even when the decision is a good one, and the fruit of that decision is eagerly anticipated, there can still be a need for comfort and solace over the necessary cessation of long-held habits and views.
Possessing sturdy resolve and never ones to allow a little pain to hinder necessary progress, today my parents move from the old home to the new one. Already they are involved in decisions over shrubs and gardens, tools and sheds, wall colours and curtains. And because they took the time and meditated on all the various aspects of the wonderful life the old home had hosted, and because they have concluded this season appropriately and with deliberation, they have a very good life ahead of them.