Guest Bloggers offer readers (and blog owners) several things, like a different set of experiences, different perspectives, and a state change. Today, Saturday, I’m introducing you to Connie Wright, a fellow Baby Boomer and Midlife traveler, who shares a recent story many of us can relate to:
So I spent two days wrapping up the final touches on packing up my mother’s house. Mom had spent the whole summer organizing, giving things away and packing. The “for sale” sign hangs out front. She would remind me of what little that remains in the house as to what came from where; what great grandfather or great aunt made or gave us what and who should get what when the house does sell. She repeats herself, but less out of forgetfulness and more to try to imprint in me all that she wishes to communicate. She has it down to the basics.
Saturday morning she looks around, sets the house alarm and declares she is ready, she notes she hopes it doesn’t sell and she can come back one last time “I need to get more done” and we hop in the car for the long 7 hour drive back to my house. She will stay with me for one week; celebrate my nephew’s wedding and then head to Florida.
The drive to my house is a well worn path that both my parents used to drive to visit my brother and me (he’s just an hour “down the road”). Now it is just us and Mom reminisces about the landmarks she’d pass with Dad and what they would do. The first hour is still near home – so there is much to discuss about what they did – some are memories from her youth – when my parents were dating (or as she says “courting”) others are more recent. We can’t remember the name of the greenhouse they went to one time outside of Mechanicsburg… For those of you who know me, you know I don’t lack for the gift of gab, but this is a time for me to just listen and to ask questions. There are times I’m not sure she is even speaking to me – though I know she knows I am listening.
As we get further from home, the conversation goes more to memories unrelated to our location. And she shares messages she wants to make sure I communicate to my siblings. She’s still a strong woman and should have many more years, but she is preparing for THAT tomorrow. There was a time I did not like hearing her face her mortality, not sure if it’s my father’s death or just that she has talked more about it – but I can listen now. I used to “pooh pah” these conversations and push them off, but on this ride, on this journey away from the town she grew up in with her knowing this could be her last time home, I listen.
The trip takes a path and so does the conversation – at the midway point she is most reminiscent of the past. We stop for lunch at a diner in Stamford CT. I see the habits of how she eats come out – insisting she isn’t hungry – but teasing her that I don’t want to share, she orders her own sandwich and of course eats it all. She talks about being the last sibling in her family alive and wishes she had someone from those times to reconfirm her memories or to recall a shared experience.
Back on the road, as we start to close in on my home, the path to our conversation starts to shift and she starts to move forward. What she wants to do when we get to my house; “you know I have not seen Alex and Justine’s house” and starts to make the list of what she will need to do when she gets to Florida. We make plans for the up coming week, she has moved on.
Connie, thank you for sharing your story. Florida is a great place for seniors and midlifers – we can exercise outdoors year round.