We spent the last 4 days helping my mother-in-law, who has early Alzheimer's, move into a senior housing duplex. It's still independent living, but it's much nicer than the mobile home she was living in, which was deteriorating around her.
We traveled out on Thursday morning to help her pack. Steve's sister's family and his aunt had been helping his Mom pack over the last few weeks, because Mom had only packed a few boxes of books. But there was still so much to pack, and not enough time left to really sort stuff out to get rid of. We did manage to take some furniture we knew was excess to Goodwill before we left, though.
God was watching over all of us. We got a call on Thursday that the 17 foot moving truck we wanted to rent was unavailable, so they were upgrading us to a 26 foot truck free. They also added on some additional mileage free, and an extra day's rent free. Which took care of our needs perfectly. We didn't know it at the time, but we were going to NEED that larger truck. God knew, though.
We were very blessed when people from our former church, which was the same church Steve's Mom attended, came to help pack boxes, and move some of the heaviest items onto the truck. I had to giggle when I found out that some of my brother-in-law's fellow softball team members had been helping pack boxes in the two spare bedrooms late Friday night (while I was showering my filthy kids and getting them put to bed). Those should be interesting to unpack, but in reality, what was left in there was a jumble of miscellaneous items, anyway. If Steve's sister or I had been doing it, we probably would have ended up with just as many interesting boxes, ourselves.
We didn't manage to pull out until 6 pm on Saturday, which was 4 or 5 hours later than we'd hoped. An hour of rain made our final packing moments difficult, and we did sit and wait awhile for lulls in the rain to finish our loading. We had a convoy of 6, with Steve driving a pickup truck, our brother-in-law driving the moving truck, Steve's Mom in her car, Steve's Aunt in her car, Steve's sister in her minivan, and me in our Suburban. All 5 personal vehicles were packed full of stuff and people, in addition to the moving truck. It was a late arrival here in our town, and we were all exhausted, but we made it safely ... and without any vehicle problems.
Sunday, we were able to all attend church together, and then the rush to unpack began. Again, God's people showed their love to our family!! We had 7 people from our church who gave of their time and energy to help unload the truck. By the time I returned from Wal-mart and Pizza Hut with lunch, most of the truck was emptied all over the lawn. Many people had to leave at that point, but we were so thankful for the help they had already given.
A few stayed longer to carry things into the house, and one teen stayed all afternoon, helping Steve and Mike carry all the heavy furniture. When we had all the furniture in place (and had weeded out items that would just not fit into the house) we began carrying in the boxes. I say we, but really I directed more than carried ... something about being 30 weeks pregnant and all that. It looked like it was going to rain for awhile, but the clouds blew away, and we managed to get everything safely inside by 7 pm. Steve's sister and her family left at that point, as they had a four-hour drive to return home to be at work today.
Steve and I brought the moving truck back here to our house to unload some items we'll be storing for Mom, as well as the items we're supposed to get rid of for her. Then we had to return the moving truck, get our pickup truck at Mom's house, and drive home again to unload the pickup bed of the remaining items to store for Mom or dispose of. We came inside around 10:30 pm, where our oldest girls had been watching their younger siblings. Our 4 year old had already fallen asleep, and we soon sent the rest of the kids to bed. Steve had hoped to have time to work on finishing some 4H woodworking projects with the kids, but he was too tired and it was too late at that point.
Now Steve is at work, his Mom and her sister are unpacking some boxes, and the kids and I have 4H projects to finish preparing for the fair. Steve will have the rest of this week off, to help with the fair, and with settling his Mom in. It will be a busy week for all of us, and we do expect to spend some time helping her unpack her house. I'm sure the pile of stuff to sell or give away will grow as we figure out just what else won't fit into the house.
It is a relief to have her moved. We've set dates and started plans several times over the past 1.5 years, but Mom kept changing her mind. We didn't really expect her to go through with this date, to be honest. We didn't begin many preparations (on our end) until we were already in July, but still kept expecting a last-minute cancellation. When we got down to 2 weeks, and then 1 week before the move, we began to relax.
When we were just days before the move, and knew that packing was going on at her end, we began to spread the word that we could use some help on both ends of this move, with loading and unloading. And God's people came through. We're so thankful for them showing God's love to us, and to Steve's Mom!
I'm so thankful for God's hand over this whole move. Besides the upgraded truck size, God worked for us in other ways, as well. When I called to have her phone service transferred, they originally said that her new line couldn't be set up until August 6 ... 2 weeks without a phone! I told her that she was a widow with early alzheimers who could not figure out a cellphone and could NOT live without a phone for 2 weeks. They made some calls, talked to the tech department, and the techs agreed to squeeze her in sooner. She didn't go one day without phone service.
While the forecast called for isolated thunderstorms both on the day we loaded in eastern Kansas, and the day we unpacked here in central Kansas ... the only rain we had was that final hour of loading up. We even drove out of the rain, and had a dry drive here Saturday night. I'm so thankful for that, because I know Steve's Mom and Aunt do not like to drive in bad weather.
I know Steve's sister and her family will miss having his Mom there near them, but I think we're all relieved to have her moved into senior housing. Now, she isn't responsible for everything that goes wrong in her home (and a lot of it was starting to go wrong -- we found a water leak when packing the bathroom, and the a/c quit working half the time in the last week). She's also now in an environment where there will be others used to dealing with senior citizens helping to watch over her. She still has her independence, but Steve and his siblings will also have their help in assessing when her Alzheimer's mandates a move into assisted living.
And now ... the rest of the unpacking and helping her settle in begins. Along with a busy week of 4-H and the County Fair! Please pray for Steve's Mom as she transitions to her new home, and community. She used to live here, so it is familiar, but it is still a change that is complicated by her Alzheimer's.
Thanking God Today,