Thursday, April 28, 2016

Who Needs Me?

We Dreamers went back to northern Florida after our glorious trip. Only, this leg of our trip wasn't for fun. Sadly, we had to push (force, cajole, railroad) Mr. Dreamy's mother and stepdad into an assisted living facility just before our trip. They had been living in a CCRC, in a cottage, for the last four years, and they just couldn't handle independent living any longer. Mrs. has dementia and can't remember anything recent, and Mr. is blind. We, along with Mr. Dreamy's sister and hubby, had to clean out their 'cottage', so that the community could pass it on to somewhat younger old folks. What a job! I don't think my mother-in-law threw out ANYTHING!!! A few of the great finds included:
  • enough photos, going back at least 2 generations, to fill two medium packing boxes
  • every letter that Mr. Dreamy's dad sent during WWII, both before they were married and afterwards - enough letters to fill a box 9"X4"X12". (It was fun to read the letters; most of the letters declared his love for her and asked if she would marry him!)
  • business suits and gowns that Mr. Dreamy's mom wore "back in the day"
  • every letter that Mr. Dreamy ever sent during the Vietnam war - a slightly smaller pile - he was not quite as prolific as his dad, but his letters were sent on that lightweight airmail paper!
  • a fan collection, a parasol collection, a gun collection....
  • every notecard ever received, including baby announcements for Mr. Dreamy and his sister
  • 8 complete sets of china  
and, the list goes on....
Mr. Dreamy's mom was amazing at what she could cram into every drawer, on every shelf, and in every hanging space. The garage was packed, floor to ceiling... oh, and in the attic above, with boxes and furniture that came from both of their previous homes. Mr. Dreamy's mom and his stepdad married in 1986, and brought all of their belongings when they finally moved into 'the cottage'. Some boxes were packed around that time...and were never opened!

So, for a week, we Dreamers sorted, and tossed, and packed up the lives of his mom and stepdad, and their former spouses, and their parents, and their grandparents, and aunts and uncles.....

That was the easy part! Visiting his mom and stepdad was the hard part. They aren't happy in assisted living, but at 93 and 94 years of age, they need to be there. To top things off, stepdad came down with certified Influenza B, which mother came down with... which meant we couldn't see them, except from the door of their suite in the new digs. So sad!!!!

So, we turned our steering wheel toward the west and departed. It rained. I was in a major funk. We stopped at a campground near Pensacola, FL. The campground where we began our wonderful tour, only now, there were no familiar campers or friends. Bummer. Then, between rainstorms, I scooted out with the dogs and heard a Chuck-will's-widow. It brought an immediate smile to my face. It erased all of angst from the last week. 

Many years ago we Dreamers lived in coastal SC. Many an evening... and often in the early morning, my sleep was disrupted enhanced by a Chuck-will's-widow. Their song, "Who needs me" or, "Chuck wills widow" is haunting, yet beautiful. After my walk with the dogs, I returned to the motorhome in a totally new mindset. Life is good!

Here is a YouTube recording of a Chuck-Will's-Widow:


  1. That is never an easy thing to do. I am trying to prepare so my children will not have to sort and toss.

    We call those Whip-Poor-Wills. Reminds me I have not heard one in a while. I shall have to listen. I have seen one nesting in my life. Off looking birds.

    1. You are smart! I've made attempts to pare down, but it isn't easy.
      Whip-Poor-Wills are similar to Chuck-Wills-Widow, but their calls are slightly different. The Chuck-Wills call is a lower pitch and is slower.

  2. It's always a hard time to do that- my mother in law was very resentful when she had to go into assisted living, especially as it separated her from her husband who didn't qualify; he took a room in the same building which has a section for independent elders. Always makes me wonder, how my final days will play out.

    1. Oh no! That's terrible to split them up. Both in-laws are in the same facility. They have a small three room suite. But, my MIL keeps forgetting who he is and/or gets angry that he can't do anything for himself. They might be better off in separate rooms.
      I, too, wonder about my end-of-life.

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