It’s a different kind of March Madness this year, but madness it is, no escaping that. Our friend Gretchen shared a saying about these moments:
“When one door closes,
another door opens…
but it’s hell in the hallway”
We laughed about that over dinner last night. To bring a thing full circle is no easy task and yesterday we felt everything, all of it, all at once. My folks made the decision (albeit a bit reluctantly) to downsize from their beautiful home in favor of living in community with others who have done the same thing. They spent 19 years in their current home and had a few moves under their belt after leaving the house they raised their kids in. 65 years of memories in boxes, on walls and shelves. Treasures tucked into nooks and drawers. After each of those previous moves, they settled into new spaces with optimism and grace. I expect this time will be no different.
But there IS that hell in the hallway …
They have moved into a vibrant retirement community loaded with possibility. New friends to share meals and games, a more consolidated living space to enjoy all that they loved before and a measure of security that is crucial as we age. If we’re lucky, we’re all going to find ourselves at this crossroads. And if we’re smart, we’re going to make changes while we can still guide those decisions ourselves.
To effectively reduce your living space by more than half requires a lot of “tell-the-truth” moments with regard to “stuff”. 65 years are a lot of years to sift through and curate. We have spent the better part of a month doing just that. As their partner in this endeavor I spent hours with my hands on everything from precious treasures to forgotten and meaningless stuff that seems to get tucked away and multiply. Dad mapped out the perfect schematic and floor plan for furniture, all to scale, and all precise. Mom and my sister and I pored over everything from kitchen things to clothes in closets to tucked-away treasures of their youth. It all came together with a lot of time and dedication. Blood, sweat and tears. I love that I got to help them through this minefield of memories.
We found valuable goodies that couldn’t make the trip, so I have my work cut out for me to fire up my ebay account in earnest. Old Sunbeam hand mixer, very old cookbooks, a vintage walkman and glassware from a long ago era. There is a lot still to do, but we managed to touch these pieces of their history, hear the stories and either tuck them away for the new place or gracefully let them go.
It was all we could do these past few weeks to make decisions and wade through years of artifacts. The thought of packing it all and moving sent the stress of it into the stratosphere.
Enter the magicians …
I’m still trying to find the words for Rebecca and her amazing crew. She created a moving company back in 2021 after merging her successful careers in senior living management, and then later, in International logistics. What a perfect combination for this service that can only be likened to magic.
Here’s what they offer:
Part 1: Specializing in senior moves, they will come into your home and carefully pack all of your belongings. They have a system that we followed for isolating and identifying the things that would make the trip. They take a day to pack everything up and stage it for the move.
Part 2: Day two, the moving truck arrives with helpers to load up and transport everything to the new space. But that’s not even the best part.
Part 3 happens in less than seven hours as furniture is placed, belongings are unpacked and the entire space is made whole. It’s like the reveal on home makeover shows. Rebecca and Barb and the rest of the team put their amazing talents to work and made something beautiful out of the chaos. Yes, everything had a place.
There were no boxes, no packing material and every detail was tended to. Pictures were hung, cabinets were filled. The bed was made, the computer was set up and every detail covered down to the placement of items in drawers. Clothes were hung in closets exactly as they were at home. The design aspect was stunning. Mom and Dad’s treasures carefully curated and mindfully placed. They spent less than an hour with them in person and yet they designed the most beautiful space as if they had known them a lifetime. The gallery wall made me cry. Oh, who am I kidding? The whole stunning reveal made me cry. Happy tears*
Magic. And magicians.
I couldn’t be more impressed. If you are local to me and are looking for this kind of warm, efficient, talented crew of angels for yourself or a loved one, please reach out. They are worth every penny. They get five stars from me. (Ten if I could give extra.)
Here is Rebecca’s Company website:
And here is Rebecca (left) and Barb (right) with Mom and Dad last night.
And here is some more of their handiwork:
I will likely write more later on this whole move and what it took to get through “the hallway”. For now, I know I speak for my siblings, my wife and my Mom and Dad in saying we are grateful for the love and support of everyone as we move forward into this next amazing chapter. Onward. The way is clear. One day, one step, one moment at a time.
So happy for the successful move with the crew of angels. 🙂 The new home is astonishing. Much love to all of you.
Thank you, Manja. It has been a labor of love, and yes, the angels were the most wonderful part.
What a difference a year makes:
The Rebecca crew certainly created a heartwarming and amazing transition for your folks, the softest of landings in a very short period of time, in the great scheme of things.
Last March, your Mom and your family navigated the rollercoaster that is modern healthcare, especially when hospitals are in play. Scary stuff. But your Mom rebounded like a Champ.
This March, you and your folks orchestrated the culling and keeping of so many good memories, and the monumental task of shedding what no longer served them. That is both an amazing feat and pretty exciting stuff! Your guiding hand and laser focus enabled all of this to happen, Bon. I know the sibs and Kelly each played a roll, but you and your folks joined hearts and pushed through, dealing with the occasional set-back or hurdle with great dignity.
Now a new adventure is about to begin for Beth and Ray. Life will be lighter and more fresh and new. Friends to make, stories to share, life to live. It is nothing short of exhilarating! You ALL deserve to take a bow. I can’t wait for stories about the New Adventures of Beth and Ray.♥️
This is beautiful, Mary 💗
As the one at the other end of most of my calls and texts, your presence in my immediate orbit has been pivotal in helping me through some of the hardest days and nights of my life. Yes, the recovery of both of my folks has been swift and strong. They deserve this slower pace with less responsibility for both home and yard that have seemed suddenly in need of much attention. Thank you for being a rock in my river 💚
Oh this took me back to sitting on the carpet with boxes and teacups and my mother’s lamenting voice asking over and over, “Which of my grandchildren wants this?” And my gentle response, “They don’t mom…” And (of course) are now on the top shelf in my kitchen. I use her dishes daily, fancy Royal Dalton, on the condition that she knew I would let the dog lick them and put them in the dishwasher. Now that she’s died, her dishes are the hand I hold daily. They’re doing fine, and your folks will do fine too. Thanks for re/invoking this story with their story.
Oh my, Christina. This is so true of our experience as well. They have taken what they could and I am bringing home all that I can, but so much remains. I’m glad their grandchildren are selective when it comes to having “things” in their spaces. I hope the generations ahead will be more mindful and more spare when it comes to “stuff”. As for me, I already have our old milk pitcher and many glass crystal treasures from Sweden. For the bigger things, I will swap something with less meaning. Balance is key. Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks*
The transition from homeownership to independent living is a milestone. Preparing for this change is an emotion dance performed by all loved ones involved, with conversations about timing, planning, downsizing, packing, and finally moving belongings and reestablishing one’s home environment. I had no idea there was anything like Rebecca’s moving company in existence. It takes a rare individual to start a business rooted in a love of people, especially the elderly. There is a chapter in the AA big book about step 12 that reads “Money gradually became our servant and not our master. It became a means of exchanging love and service with those about us.” I just witnessed what that means having watched Rebecca’s crew work with Ray and Beth.
You, my dear, are my rock. You have this exactly right. Witnessing the care and warmth of this moving team was so comforting. The efficiency and skill would have been worth every penny, but to merge that with care, warmth and kindness was priceless. My hat is off to Rebecca and her crew. Thanks for putting up with me on so many hard days/nights. I couldn’t have done it without you 💗
You are so lucky to have found a service like this! We moved my mom a few years ago and wish we could have had similar help. It looks like they did an excellent job.
Thank you so much. It has been a year-long journey for us all and such a gift there is in planning ahead. The team that helped make the move happen was fantastic. I’ll be forever grateful.
Mind blowing. I, too, am in awe of you. And of Rebecca. Genius. And this: “If we’re lucky, we’re all going to find ourselves at this crossroads. And if we’re smart, we’re going to make changes while we can still guide those decisions ourselves.” Also genius. “I love that I got to help them through this minefield of memories.” I’m sad that my sisters and I didn’t do this with my mom (and my dad, though that wasn’t going to happen) before it became impossible. You and your sister and Ray and Beth have done a magnificent thing. What a gift.
Gretchen, thank you so much. I hope you know that your book was a big catalyst for many really important conversations. Sage advice from a voice we trust. To recognize this as a gift is exactly right. It shows such respect for us and for themselves. To have lingered some days in the memory of so many things we held in our hands was something I will never forget. This truly falls under the category of “taking a village”. I’m so grateful for the roles everyone took on and so happy to have you in our orbit*
How wonderful that your folks are settled! And what a service Rebecca and Barbara offer. I almost wish I was moving!!! 💕
Thanks so much Bailey. They were an ourstanding part of this team and I was thinking the same thing myself about almost wishing I was moving! When it’s time, I hope they are still in the area and helping transition people with care and confidence. Thanks for being here.
WOW!!!! What a phenomenal transformation. I’m glad I know about the blood sweat and tears because it looks so easy and effortless when you look at that end product. I am in awe of you. Again.
Thank you for being here, Nancy. To know there was someone answering my frantic texts made it so much easier for me. This team executed this move flawlessly. I am in awe too. Thanks for the kind words about my role. I will always know I did my very best to care for them at every crossroads. And I know that their appreciation is great 💗