How many times has someone told me they just moved their parent into an assisted living home or a nursing home? Stated matter-of-factly, without pouring out their whole story. How many times did I basically ignore their statement and continue with my own concerns?
Not everyone shares openly about the decision or the process, but I'm learning that there has to have been a story. Even if their parent was in full agreement with the move, or unable to protest the move, there is still a story. Even if every sibling agreed on every detail along the way, there is still a story. Even if there is only one choice for where to place their parent, there is still a story. A story filled with strong emotions, indecision, confusion, difficult discussions, overwhelming fatigue, regrets, and stress.
I will never again hear those words, and glibly say "I'm sorry" and move on in the conversation. I will stop, look them in the eye, ask how it went and let them know I care about them and the struggle they've faced. And since the struggle rarely ends once their parent is moved, I'll continue to ask how it's going. I just never knew all that was wrapped up in that sentence.