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  • by Carolyn Lackey

New Kid on the Block

I'm feeling really emotional this evening. After lots of prayer and consideration, I'm moving Meems to a new facility tomorrow. We have LOVED her current digs and the amazing staff. The time has come for her to cuddle up in a more "hospice-y" situation. It's not a hospice facility, per se. It's just smaller and a bit more intimate with closer supervison. I hate goodbyes. But, this hello is in her best interest at this stage.

I didn't know if I should tell her about the move until the day we loaded her up in the van to transport her. She doesn't ever really know what room she's in, so I thought that she might not even realize that she had been moved. On Monday, the perfect "reveal" opportunity arose.

I went into her room while she was napping and sat beside her. She opened her eyes a tiny bit and whispered to me the much told story of the rich man who is paying all of her bills. This "rich man" has been a part of her world since last Spring. "Isn't it nice that he chose to pay all of MY bills?" Yes, indeed, Missy Meems, it is very, very nice. I've asked her to put in a good word for me and my bills. So far, I have not been "chosen."

Her mention of her grand, benevolent, mysterious benefactor was the perfect segue to the topic of moving.

"Oh, Mom! You'll never believe this! The man is upgrading you to a better room in another building! I think you're going to love it!"

She smiled a twinge.

"That's so nice."

"It's really, really nice! I think you'll really like your new room!"

Then, she said. "Thanks for telling me."

Followed by.

"What would I do without you?"

"Sweet Momma, what would I do without YOU!?"


I moved a few things over to the new place this afternoon. It's supposed to be rainy tomorrow. I took her favorite painting, some pictures and her beautiful living room lamp with its $50 pink quartz finial* and placed them in her room.

This evening, I made a little "about Helen" whiteboard.

Dear Family,

I only listed the people that will be visiting Meems weekly. When you come to visit, I'll royally introduce you to her new friends.



Tomorrow, I'll be crying like little Ricky Schroder in "The Champ" as we say goodbye to the lovely people at her old place. We have become very fond of them. Today, I sobbed to Alan on the phone about leaving these good people, and he softly said, "We can always go visit." Love him.

I was also weeping because I made a trip to a local thrift shop to drop off donated shoes and purses that Meems hasn't used in over a year. The drop off door is in the front of the building. I've left things there many times. This time it was different. They had placed a row of mini-dumpsters about 10 feet away from the front of the drop off door to form a barricade. Then, in the middle of the garage door-sized door opening, they had positioned a large dumpster. I guess that they had had problems with people driving up onto the sidewalk and into the drop off "garage." Mystifying.

I grabbed a few sacks of Mom's things, walked up the opening and peered over the dumpster barrier which full-on smelled like a school cafeteria dumpster. In the large drop off room, there was a MOUNTAIN of clothes. Not neat little piles of clothes - a MOUNTAIN of clothes that surely began as a small pile of clothes thrown on the floor and gradually grew to mammoth proportions. Imagine a teenager's room gone wild for the duration of their high school years. The pile was taller than me. I began to wonder if perhaps it covered the idiot's car that was mistakenly driven into the cavernous space. Seriously, the pile was big enough to conceal a small vehicle. There were a few odds and ends of stuff thrown in the mix. It looked like a king-size garbage heap.

I set the bags down and made eye contact with a lady who was sitting in front of a desk to the left of the opening. "I've got more," I said. She nodded and said not a word. I brought 2 more sacks to the door and turned to walk back to my car. All of a sudden, I felt like I was dropping our good old border collie off at the "Isle of Dogs." My mother's pristine white tennis shoes with the red and blue trim were nestled in one of the sacks. In another sack were some of her favorite purses fresh from a spot-cleaning in my kitchen just minutes before. Guilt hit me like a tidal wave. I wanted to run back, grab the bags and shout to the wordless lady, "Never mind! I'm keeping all of this!" or "No way am I leaving my mother's treasures in this dump!"

I sat in the car for a second with a lump in my throat. I may have actually hummed a few bars of "Let it Go." With tears in my eyes, I slowly pulled away and immediately called my rock, Alan. The best part of this story was his reaction to my tearful telling of the experience. He didn't make fun of me. He didn't say "get over it." He just said listened. I love him for that.

I'm fine. It's part of this time of life. Mom is still with me. She's still got the really cute pink purse that Santa brought her last Christmas. It still has about $250 in fake money inside just in case a finial salesman happens by her room some day. I have no qualms with her spending even $100 fake dollars per finial.

*Time: about 1989

Topic: New Lamps Decorators had Delivered

"Mom, those lamps are beautiful!"

"Do you like the finials? I had to pay extra for them!! They're my favorite thing about the lamps!!"

"They're really pretty! How much did they set you back?"

"$50. Each."


"Nope. I just love them!"

$50 EACH in 1987 = $102.29 EACH in 2018 (I googled it.) I will keep those finials until the day I die just to remind me of the importance of beauty and detail in the World of Meems. Maybe I'll turn them into chandelier earrings. See what I did right there? Lamp finials. Chandelier earrings.

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