Decision to Move
by Donna L. Scrafano
Looking back, I remember first the challenges, as that’s how my brain tends to operate. I recalled my then-90-year-old father became more frail and therefore more dependent on me. His frailty was at the core of some major decision making and vast changes that would occur for both him and me. The first decision was to move closer to my children, as they were the only means of personal support for me regarding the care of my father.
It’s well known how stressful moving can be, not including the stress of doing so with an elderly parent in tow. Following the difficult decision to move, there was yet another unforeseen decision. My youngest daughter, her family, and I concluded that we should live together. This decision changed the entire focus of what type of property to purchase. The numerous houses I had already viewed were now out of the picture. Our change of plans also came in the midst of a booming real estate market, so houses were selling rather quickly. My old house had sold in less than two weeks and a closing date had been set. I was on a seriously ticking time clock.
The move took place in in the dead of winter at the start of a new year. It also included some major downsizing. My father and I were moving from 2,000 square feet of living space to 700 square feet, the size of the in-law suite I had designed for the new home. And again, those of us who have downsized know only too well some of the issues that come along with such a change. A plethora of challenges, indeed.
This first and major decision proved to be very successful. I had help with the care of my father, he enjoyed seeing his grandchildren and great-grandchildren on a daily basis, and he was able to participate in all of the events held at the new house. There was a smile on my father’s face till the very end. And when his end was near, I was ever so very, very grateful to not be alone. And because of the newly designed living quarters, nor was my father ever alone. He left this world, with his daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren surrounding him. I couldn’t have asked for a more peaceful way for him to go.
The first few major changes and challenges of deciding to move, house share, and downsize proved to be and continue to be very successful. The challenge of dealing with the loss of my beloved father lingered, of course. However, knowing what a wonderful life he led until the very end helps with the grieving process. Additionally, attached to the core of caring for my father, I was able to identify not only unsupportive individuals but those who were toxic and undeserving of being a part of my life. I guess this counts as another form of downsizing.
Let’s also not forget the challenges of house sharing. This was my first experience with this issue. If there are any readers out there who can give me any tips, please do. The challenges continue. However, the benefits far outweigh the challenges for both parties thus far. Although my father is no longer with us, it’s nice to know that family is a yell away. Yes, a yell. Because that’s what I do. I actually enjoy being there for my teenage grandson who lives in the home as well. I now lived closer to all of my other grandchildren, too.
Along with the many decisions, changes, and challenges came many blessings, too. The greatest blessing was on a December day, I became a great-grandmother for the first time. A beautiful baby girl, Ella Rose, entered my life. I cannot express the type of joy that entered my heart. Quite frankly, the negative residue of the year’s events had just about completely dissipated since the birth of this angel.
In making the difficult decision to downsize and move, I am thankful for the blessings and challenges that have assisted in my emotional and spiritual growth. Having made the choice to live in a multigenerational home with family could not have been wiser for me. With that in mind, I’m saying hello to the newly developed attitude, mind-set, and skills it takes to get through a storm.
As an anonymous writer wrote on Facebook: “Strong women aren’t simply born. They are made by the storm they walk through.”
Photo credit by Donna Scrafano.
Donna began her journey in Human Services in 1983. During the next 35 years she held various positions and formally retired in 2018. She writes on an array of social issues. Donna's relaxation time includes walking her Lab, Roxy, having fun with her seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, writing for Silver Sage, spending time with friends and family. Her last full-time position was providing care to her father. Since that has ended, Donna is taking the time to invest in her own self care and interests.