Erin's Journals

Monday, May 6, 2024

Just a thought… The biggest mistake is you think you have time. Time is free, but it’s priceless. [Buddha]

The days ahead are full – so busy with pre-listing home pandemonium and getting the place ready for photos and video tomorrow that we called the realtor and asked for another week. Panic averted.

Of course, the week is heavy on the heart, too, with May 11, our daughter’s day of leaving this life, and then Mother’s Day the following day looming. But we’re keeping busy, busy, busy. It helps, somewhat. That is, when we’re not melting down. SERENITY NOW!!!

As I’ve packed and sorted, I’ve had a lot of time to think. Not all of the thoughts are cheery today, but if I can’t be real here, on my own blog, I don’t know where I can.

With that in mind, some observations:

In addition to gift bags I mentioned last week, it seems I am unable to throw away something that has been framed. It must be precious, right? Whether it’s a certificate for “best this-or-that” or a photo of which I’m not overly fond, I’ve carted those things across the country (and from home to home when we were in the GTA) for, oh, two decades. So on the weekend, I painstakingly emptied the frames and loaded them into boxes for donation.

I’ve even started to give away or toss things from Lauren’s childhood: stuffed toys, a plate with her time and date of birth on it, a Precious Moments birthday train we added to year after year, a little snow globe with a girl on a fence and the caption “What will I grow up to be?” on it. We got our answer, and that is enough.

All of these mementoes, trinkets and items that were special once deserve to be loved by someone else, where appropriate. By holding on to them by the boxful, we’re only leaving someone else to toss them when we move on.

Another thought: do people who are younger than we are have any idea how much care homes cost? We’re looking at a private place for my dad that promises to cost at least $11,000 a month, all in. Even with a lifetime of frugality, good earning and shrewd investing, Dad could live there for only three years before his money is gone.

There’s public care, but it is harder to get into than Harvard, and there are many folks further along in their health deterioration than Dad. As he’s a veteran, we could apply to a place for them near us here on the island, but the waiting list is probably longer than his life span (and maybe ours), and he has to be hospitalized before they’ll consider admitting him.

What a situation we’re all in now! It’s like no one we elected 20 or even 30 years ago listened to the studies saying that there was going to be this massive silver tsunami in demographics as Boomers aged. Honestly, I’m starting to think I’ll check out before I let myself run out of funds late in my life. Dark? You bet. But realistic, too.

When you’re 20, you think 40 is old. When you’re 40 you think your whole life is mostly still ahead (and, usually, it is). But time goes faster than any of us can imagine, and soon you’re moving for the umpteenth time and packing up your memories for the dump or for charity. Who ever saves for a decade (or longer) of senior care at the end of the road? My dad did: he paid into a type of insurance for years. And what’s his dividend? $2000 a month. That won’t even get you in the door.

What on earth are the people who can’t afford a place to live now going to do in forty or fifty years?

And why are we trying to extend our lives, if they won’t be worth living?

All questions to which I have no answer. I count our blessings that Rob and I have security now and hopefully well into the future. We’re the lucky ones. We keep telling ourselves that.

Except,” as we always add, “for that one thing.

May this week treat you well. I’ll have a new much happier version of our podcast Gracefully & Frankly with Lisa Brandt this Thursday (Episode 72). We always laugh together; our half hour is a bright spot amidst the packing paper and memories, the decisions and the fatigue. May our time together each week be something you look forward to as much as we do. And Happy Mother’s Day – in whatever form it takes in your heart.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, May 6, 2024