OT: Tough Day Today

As you may recall, I had posted about my MIL moving in with us at the end of July (http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....-the-forum). In the last month, we have sold my MIL's house, had my father come to visit from the coast, built a bedroom downstairs for our teenage son and got him set up, renovated my son's previous bedroom to be comfortable for my MIL, made safety changes in our bathroom to accommodate an elderly person, and cleaned out my MIL's old three-story house of its 52 years worth of stuff. Oh....and shopped NAS!

Today was the yard sale of that 52 years worth of stuff and it was a tough day, particularly for my MIL and my husband. It's very emotional to have complete strangers rifle through your possessions, haggle your price down, and then take it away with them. Yes, they are just things but many of those things had memories attached to them and the sad reality is that you can't keep all of them. My husband watched his childhood and teenage years slip away with each item sold and you could visibly see the pain on his face when many of his recently deceased father's items were purchased.

When it was all done, we all walked through the now empty 102 year-old house, with its creaky floors and leaded glass windows. It echoed with emptiness. It still smells like my in-laws. We found underneath the basement stairs a small portion of the wood wall where all 5 kids had carved their initials at different points in time. My hubby took a picture of that wall to take with him.

My MIL is staying with her daughter tonight and moving in with us tomorrow. We're all relieved and pleased that she's coming to be with us. But it sure was a tough day today.

Why am I sharing this? Just a reminder to love your family with all that you have in you. They are truly the most important thing in your life.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

30 Comments

  • Echo replied 6 years ago

    Oh, Shannon, I am so sorry. I can only imagine how hard that must have been for your MIL and your DH, and how much it must have hurt you to watch them. I am so glad, however, that the sale happened due to her moving instead of for other reasons and that you still have your MIL and your DH with you. My heart goes out to you in this tough time; you are so incredibly generous and giving to have her live with you.

  • KathyL replied 6 years ago

    What an emotional thing to have to go through! You are amazing for doing all this for your MIL and DH. Big hugs to you all, and thank you for the reminder. It is so true.

  • Janet replied 6 years ago

    Oh Shannon, I understand all too well. The difference for me was that all that took place after my mom passed away (my dad died 17 years prior), so my sister and I were left with the huge task of sorting through and deciding what to do with 40+ years worth of belongings in my childhood home, and then getting the house ready to sell.

    In some ways it was cathartic, to look at things that brought back memories, and it was good to spend that time with my sister (we live 800 miles apart and don't get to see each other frequently), but it was also very difficult.

    Like Echo says, I'm glad you're doing this now with your MIL and not for the reasons I had to do it. My best wishes are with you all during this time of healing and adjustment.

  • MsMary replied 6 years ago

    Shannon, hugs to you and your sweet husband. Wishing all of you the best in this new chapter in your lives!

  • Jem replied 6 years ago

    Hugs to you and your husband and MIL. I can't imagine how hard that would be, both emotionally and physically. I'm glad you've got it done and I hope the move in will go smoothly.

  • Nadya replied 6 years ago

    I know how hard this is. I admire the spirit with which you're cheerfully rearranging your life to care for your family: you rock. Sending some virtual hugs your way.

  • replied 6 years ago

    Sending your family lots of good thoughts during this emotional time of transition. Extra big hugs to you.

  • lyn* replied 6 years ago

    Wow; it sounds like you are going through a rough patch, Shannon. I greatly admire your attitude towards it all; It must be so emotional for your DH to see all the pieces of his childhood scattered away. Your MIL sure is lucky to have someone as wonderful as you to stay with!

  • Joy replied 6 years ago

    Shannon, what a difficult thing to do! You are one in a million for taking your MIL into your home. She is so fortunate to have you but may not realize iti in the loss of her home of so many years and confusion.

  • MNsara replied 6 years ago

    Shannon - (((hugs))) on such an emotional day. That was a tough thing to do :-(

    We did a similar 'estate' sale when my dad moved out of his townhouse to a senior apartment. Now a widower, this was a second round of down sizing, but this time it was more the 'treaures' that had survived the first move out of the homestead.

    He was pragmatic, but still hurt, by the way his 'life' was for sale AND the fact that very few people were even interested in all his crystal, silver, and other beloved niceities :-(

    Tough, indeed. Yes, our loved ones should be our greatest treasures :-)

    So, I also try to remind myself to regularly purge, and to hold possessions very lightly. . .

  • ManidipaM replied 6 years ago

    One of those bittersweet times that linger and remind us of the power of the things we take for granted (or did, as children or young people)... There is a sense of accomplishment from all that you get down (a HUGE lot by the sound of it!), a sense of progress as new arrangements start to take effect, and that sense of loss and leaving behind too, inevitably. Hugs all round, Shannon.

    I've got one of those doozies ahead of me too, with my parents moving next year. It'll be hard for them to move from the only home they've actually *owned* in their lifetimes (others were rented or temporary accommodation that came as a perk of work, or old family piles). For me, the harder part is that the house they're moving into is a set of apartments built after demolishing my grandma's old home, built by her father-in-law and his father before him --- almost 350 years old and quite unsafe by the time it was taken apart. It's the home of *my* childhood, though, even if I lived in others. While the safety and convenience of my mother and her sisters each having a modern new apartment is priceless, I can't seem to feel the same about the same address now that the old window seats and red oxide floors, the cavernous old traditional kitchen and the blocky staircases are gone :-( I have my grandma's bed, though, the one I slept in as a child while she spun bedtime tales for me --- it's a huge comfort.

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    Shannon you have made me all teary. Our relocation 18 months ago was so we could be close to my husband's ageing parents. Five months after we moved his dad passed away and we have been through a similar situation as you and your family with my MIL (though she doesn't live with us). It can be quite an emotional roller coaster. We are now facing loosing my DH's 50 year old sister who has been struck down with a terminal illness. All of this has started to bring a quite fractured family back together again as everyone has been reminded of just how important family is. Someone once said to me that the only thing really worth investing in is our relationships as what we input into one another's lives transcends time. Sending you a big hug and an energy boost... You must be exhausted:)

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    Oh, Shannon, this is definitely a tough day, and you all deserve some TLC. My sister and I were hit very hard after my parents divorced and we had to leave our house for the last time - and your MIL's house had many more years of memories, so I'm sure it was much, much harder.

    Big hugs to all of you - and I hope you have a smooth transition when she moves in. *squeeze*

  • Sona replied 6 years ago

    What an emotional roller coaster for all three of you. Yet the picture for example your husband took where all five kids had carved their initials will help bring back happier memories with the passage of time. There is also a huge therapeutic advantage to having this kind of 'closure' for your husband and MIL especially.. What a brave and wonderful, generous thing for you and your husband to do.Thinking of all three of you.

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    An emotional day indeed, Shannon. My thoughts are with you and hubs as you make sense of those feelings today. (((HUGS))).

  • bionda replied 6 years ago

    Dear Shannon, I'll be thinking of you and your family. You are a sweetheart for sure!

  • JR replied 6 years ago

    {{hugs}} You are a wonderfully empathetic person, Shannon. With serious writing skills.

  • Amy replied 6 years ago

    ((HUGS)) That does sound like an incredibly difficult day, Shannon. My thoughts are with you, your hubby and MIL.

  • Claudia replied 6 years ago

    Yes, I understand. Very emotional. Hugs.

    It is times like this that I remember my late father's words of wisdom: the only constant in life is change. Sigh.

  • HelenInCanada replied 6 years ago

    *Hugs for you and your family today, Shannon*

  • clearlyclaire replied 6 years ago

    Bigs hugs here, too Shannon. That is a lot to have going on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently. It seems a lot of us are in the sandwich between aging parents and *not quite on their own* teenagers. Hope the move goes well and you all adjust to the new living arrangements.

  • Kari replied 6 years ago

    That is very difficult, and Shannon, my thoughts are with you and your family. We went through that a couple years ago with my grandpa's house after my grandma died, and due to his knee problems living in a split-level house was no longer safe or practical. We had an estate agent who helped us through the sale so that we didn't directly have to deal with buyers, but it was tough to see well-loved items going... and yet, we knew that we just didn't have room to save everything, and the proceeds were going to make sure my grandpa had enough to live on. The emotional impact is painful, especially once the house is empty and no longer seems full of your memories.
    I've been thinking about that an awful lot lately, as my grandparents had an amazing yard and I spent many a summer swinging in the rope hammock surrounded by trees in the ravine belong their house, reading a book and listening to birds and squirrels overhead.

  • Aida replied 6 years ago

    Oh Shannon, big hugs to you!! Your post got me all teary, I truly wish all the best for you and your family.

  • velvetychocolate replied 6 years ago

    I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you, and to also say that what you're doing is a wonderfully giving thing to do. It *will* make a difference, and even though your MIL might not always be aware of everything that's going on, you can count on the fact that she feels loved, no matter what.

    One of my grandmas passed away last winter after battling Alzheimers/dementia for a number of years. She was 96. The thing is? Everyone rallied around her and jumped in to help take care of her, and I'm convinced this is the reason she stayed healthy and reasonably happy for such a long time.

    There were times when she didn't recognize people, but it's almost like that part didn't matter - what mattered is that she knew she was in the presence of people who loved and cared about her, and despite the illness - she was happy, smiling and quite healthy, given the circumstances.

    I know this is very, very hard - but I wanted to say that your MIL knows, even if she doesn't always understand what's going on. She *knows* she is loved and cared for, and this is what matters.

    In the meantime, in the future - I really hope you can manage to take breaks from being at home, caring for MIL, because when you do this, you'll be in much better shape to give your MIL all the love, care and attention you want to provide.

    It's extremely important to get some relief from the constant caregiving, especially when it's a 24/7 situation. I recommend scheduling at least three 'time outs' per week ... and that they are pencilled in, scheduled and non-negotiable.

    Even if you don't have anything in particular that you need to do during those "appointments" - it's important to get a bit of a break from the situation. It's not just for your benefit, but for your family and MIL too - you'll come back feeling a bit more relaxed and ready to deal with things. Three times a week (minimum) - a two to four hour 'time out' for you. This is crucial, and will be best for everyone.

    Hang in there, and best wishes that things go well for you and your family during this tough transition.

  • sarah replied 6 years ago

    Shannon, hugs to you and your family. You are such a sweet soul. Hang in there through these very difficult transitions.

  • Debbie replied 6 years ago

    Shannon we did this with my MIL about 7 years ago . The hardest thing was cleaning out the house. She lived with us until she needed more care. If you ever need to talk please PM me.

  • cjh replied 6 years ago

    A tough day, and thanks for the reminders to take care of those we love. It does sound like you should be worn to the nub. I'm glad you have your family around and sounds like all are supportive. Best wishes as you all adjust to the next phase in this situation.

  • annagybe replied 6 years ago

    Tough indeed. Best of fortitude.

  • Kate replied 6 years ago

    I understand. You are doing such a wonderful, loving thing, Shannon. I can only imagine how difficult the day was for you, for her, and for your DH. Best wishes to all of you.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago

    Thank you all so, so much for your kind words and support. Means the world to me.

    XOXO

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