Twelve Miles

Hi Friends!

Twelve miles!

Twelve joyous, little miles!

I’m feeling so very blessed!

For the past twenty-five years, visits with my parents meant: a taxi ride, airport security lines, a 3.5 hour flight, and a Super Shuttle ride to their lovely desert home. We traveled 1,800 miles each way to visit them and they traveled 1,800 miles each way to visit us. There were always so many happy “Welcome” hugs… and so many teary-eyed “Take Good Care of Each Other” hugs…

Just two weeks ago, we helped our parents begin the next chapter

of their amazing love story!

Best of all, they are now living just twelve miles away!!

My parents chose a lovely apartment in a brand new Senior Living Community. This new, easier lifestyle offers three chef-prepared meals each day, lots of activities, housekeeping services, transportation, and a very kind, caring staff always willing to lend a hand.

Their new community offers convenience, with several dining rooms, a small library, fitness center, movie theater, hair salon, and several activity rooms. When the warm weather arrives, there are beautiful outdoor spaces to gather, as well.

As their needs change, my parents will be able to move through a full spectrum of care ~ Independent Living, Assisted Living, Transitional Memory Care, and Full Memory Care.

The entire community is filled with inviting gathering spaces that encourage neighbors to leave their apartments and make healthy, happy connections with one another. Everyone is brand new and making friends together! It’s so nice to hear new friends laughing, making connections, and networking with one another. πŸ™‚

Thankfully, everything went smoothly on Moving Day. After the movers left, our family began slowly unpacking boxes together, meeting the new neighbors, and gradually learning our way around the community. This is a time of huge transition for our parents and all of the new residents.

I have been spending lots of time with my parents each day and have watched them slowly embrace their new lifestyle. The other day, as I looked around the dining room, I noticed daughters sitting with their parents at every table. πŸ™‚ We are a ‘sisterhood’ of caregivers! It has been very nice getting to know the other daughters, too.

Change can be extremely hard!!

Throughout this challenging time of change,

over the past two years,

I have been very intentional about counting my blessings out loud.

My Self-Care Journal helped to document

this very difficult cross-country journey

month-by-month.

My monthly ‘Gratitude’ and ‘Reasons to Be Proud’ pages

are filled with the people and moments

that have become a special part of our family’s story.

So grateful for…

My husband’s love and support every step of the way!

My parents’ strength as they endured our very long, unbelievably cold and snowy winter. Their first Midwest winter in 25 years was extremely hard on them!

The special memories we made together during their stay at our home! We proved that love grows best in small houses. Life was really cozy here in our tiny bungalow!

Patience… as repeated construction and staffing delays postponed my parents’ move-in day from: the end of December, to early January, mid-January, early February, to mid-March!! We just kept looking forward to the promise of a new, easier lifestyle that I made to my parents when we left warm, sunny Arizona back in early December.

Hugs… lots of hugs!

 

So very grateful for…

Excellent medical care when my dad suffered a heart attack at our home in early February. The paramedics arrived in just two minutes. The doctors, nurses, and hospitalist that helped my dad during his hospital stay were amazing!

My mom’s bravery during this frightening emergency! My mom and I stayed at the hospital day and night with my dad throughout his stay. My brothers and my husband were there with us every day.

The kindness of a dear friend who came to the hospital with cozy blankets, pillows, slippers, and a curling iron πŸ™‚ to make those many overnight stays easier for my mom and I.

The concern of friends and family who called, offered prayers, sent flowers, offered to bring us meals, and sent emails and cards during my dad’s lengthy recovery at home. Your kindness will always be cherished by our family!

My parents’ Arizona friends who called and sent cards of encouragement.

Hugs… so very healing!

 

So grateful for…

My parents’ positive attitude as we planned for our mid-March move-in day! Moving is always very stressful, but we all kept making plans and counting down the days together.

So much help from my brothers and my husband throughout Moving week! We each offered our strengths: muscle power, assembling furniture, technology support, and detailed planning. Teamwork made everything easier!

New friends and neighbors!

The friendly, helpful staff at my parents’ new Senior Living Community.

YOU, dear blog friends! Thank you so much for continuing to visit our little blog throughout the quiet months. It truly warmed my heart to see visitors, from near and far, reading older posts each day. What a joy to hear from you, too! Skype chats and FaceTime chats added delight to my days! Our friendships continue to grow stronger and deeper. My heart is full! β™₯β™₯

New beginnings!  During April, I look forward to writing more often, visiting with friends again, time in the garden, and adding a bit more creative playtime to my days.

Look for the small joys

tucked into the corners

of each day!

 

Warmest hugs for stopping to visit today!

β™‘ Dawn

 

 

 

 

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28 thoughts on “Twelve Miles

    • Oh, thank you, Carol! It has been such a lengthy journey for our family. My time is still extremely limited… but I’m already penciling in a bit of “me” time each week. πŸ™‚ We have so much to catch up on, Carol. Can’t wait to see you!! Warmest hugs! β™‘

  1. I am so very happy for you, John, and your parents. What a wonderful result of all the hard work and decisions of the past months. Cudos all around!

    • Many thanks, dear Anne! It was so important to respect my parents’ wishes every step of the way. They have always been adamant about not living with their children! (I can still remember both of my grandmothers moving into apartments.) These days we are very blessed to have wonderful Senior Living communities that bring seniors together to live healthy, happy lives!
      As we age, we all need a little help. I’m so grateful that my parents live so close now! I can provide care, plan outings with them, and make special family memories together. It’s exactly what I am meant to be doing at this moment. So grateful for the blessings of retirement and the gift of time! Sending warm hugs across the miles, Anne! πŸ’—

  2. I hope your Dad has recovered fully from his heart attack! Their new home looks lovely–makes me rethink what we should do when we get to that point in life, which for us is sooner rather than later. And the fact that the residents are/will be all new to one another–much easier making friends when they haven’t already established their friendships. And how wonderful that they are only 12 miles away!

    • Heartfelt thanks for your good wishes, Cathy! This week, my dad will begin Cardiac Rehabilitation, 3 times a week for 12 weeks. It’s an important part of his recovery. My mom and I will go along each time to watch and learn.
      Senior Living is definitely something to think about! My parents are renting their Independent Living apartment. They were able to choose their favorite floor plan and the view from their balcony, overlooking a wooded area. (They can’t wait for leaves to emerge on all of the tall trees! They really missed the tall, green trees in the desert.)

      My husband and I often talk about our retirement options, too. He recently heard a story on NPR about senior housing options on some college campuses. We are curious to learn more! The chance to take fun classes, interact with the students, and take advantage of the interesting neighborhoods near a college campus would keep us both young-at-heart!
      Blessings, Cathy!πŸ’—

  3. What a beautiful community for your parents and a blessing to have them only 12 miles away! My mom is 10 hours by car and that is a long drive! Glad to see your journaling and self care taking place ~ enjoy!

    • Thank you so much for joining in the conversation today, Chris! πŸ’• Arizona was my parents retirement dream and they loved every moment there! They will always miss the sunshine, blue skies, mountains, and all of their friends there. We are so grateful that they made the very difficult decision to move back close to family. Now we can help them every day, while making special memories together along the way! It truly is a blessing for our family!
      Yes, I’m being very intentional about using the power of journaling for Self-Care. I promised myself to stay healthy. Gratitude is such an important part of Self-Care, especially during difficult, stressful times.
      I can understand just how hard it is to have your mom so far away, Chris. Sending you both BIG hugs!πŸ’—

  4. Hello dear dawn,
    Lovely to hear your parents are settling in – their new home looks and feels lovely. Lovely to see the photographs. Great that all the residents are coming in at the same time, and that creates a certain amount of energy that makes it easier to make new friends. Must make you feel really good to have been able to smoothe this part of their journey. A lot to be grateful for that you were in a place to do that, and with John’s support. As with others, sharing this journey with you does bring up questions about the unknown for each of us. Especially those of us who have no kids – not that that is a guarantee of anything πŸ™‚ Living on a college campus would be awesome.

    As you support your parents, it will be time to get back into your garden again with all the new growth and plants waking up. It will be nourishing to incorporate this new growth and share this with your parents as they build their new lives nearby.

    Much love and big hugs xox
    Vicky

    • Oh, thank you, Vicky! I just LOVE all of the gathering places sprinkled throughout the entire building. One afternoon, my mom and I took a walk and sat near each fireplace. We chose our favorite comfy chairs along the way! I promised my parents that there would be lovely indoor spaces to walk in all winter long. Alas, lengthy construction delays and staffing issues kept my parents cooped up inside at our house throughout the winter months. So, next winter my parents will have lovely indoor walking spaces to enjoy!
      It’s such fun to see the neighbors who moved in the very first week with my parents helping the newest neighbors as they each move in. It is already growing into a fun, happy neighborhood!😊 I have been counting my blessings out loud each and every day!!
      What’s happening in your garden this week? I raked the backyard to collect all of the fallen pine cones beneath our towering pine trees. The leaf buds on our Maple and Magnolia tree are beginning to swell. The birds are singing sweetly. The foliage of tulips and daffodils are a bit bigger each day! Tiny snowflakes were dancing down yesterday. It’s still jacket weather here in the Midwest. So, we must be patient even though I have Garden Fever already!
      I’m looking forward to picking bouquets of blossoms to bring my parents. In May, my mom and I will plant some container gardens for their balcony. Mom will love caring for her flowers each day!
      So much to look forward to… including our April Skype visit, Vicky! Wishing you a wonderful start to the new month! Happy Autumn days! Rabbit! Rabbit! πŸ’—

      • Your Mum will love her balcony garden – what a lovely thing to share with her. Their new home sounds great – not your average retirement village.

        My garden – still eating figs – they seem to be coming ripe one fig at a time so I’m running out there and putting a mesh bag around them one by one – the birds haven’t discovered them yet. And pumpkins. Still getting cucumbers and lots of salad greens. Waiting for my 2 raised garden beds to arrive so I can plant my winter garden. I want to get a cane basket – feels like that would be lovely to take out as I snip my greens for my dinner.

        I’ll have to talk with you about daffodils and bulbs in general – I’ve never grown them so lots to learn. Must be lovely to see them springing up right now. I’d like to have lots of flowers too – lovely to be able to give someone a bunch. Your Mum will love hers.

        Yes – April and we must Skype this month – looking forward to it, and you’ll be even closer to your gardening season. Vicky xox

      • Vicky, I’m so looking forward to helping my mom create a little container garden on her balcony! My mom taught me how to garden when I bought my home so long ago. My parents continue to be my greatest teachers! By example, they are teaching me the value of downsizing, donating, and simplifying as we age.
        I can just picture you harvesting the healthy bounty from your garden, Vicky! Yes, a cane basket will be delightful. You are becoming a modern day Tasha Tudor and Beatrix Potter! Stories of their gardens always inspire me ~ as do stories from your garden.πŸ’• I’ve been checking your weather from time to time. Autumn in New Zealand is still much warmer than our Springtime temperatures in the Midwest. I’m looking forward to our garden chat, Vicky! Your friendship is a special blessing!πŸ’—

  5. It is so good to hear from you. I have thought of you often and thought about sending an email to see if everything was alright and I imagined that things were not going exactly as planned. I am so glad your parents were at your house when your dad had his heart attack. My mom was in the hospital just a few weeks before that at the end of January. At almost 96 (in 2 weeks) her heart is wearing out. We had a lovely hospitalist who was so sweet and told mom she has had a good healthy heart but it has been pumping for 95 + years and it is tired!! But mom is back home and in the garden and she has her garden bench where she can rest. I can’t get over how lovely the senior living community is just 12 miles from your house!! I think I could live there!! πŸ˜€
    Spring IS coming…slowly, taking it’s time. Our weather has been a roller coaster of overly warm days and plunging night time temperatures and then sliding back into chilly days. And all with those lovely West Texas winds nearly blowing you over! The hummers are back in full force and it is already a full time job keeping the feeders full! So spring is coming in her own good time.
    I look forward to more posts from you as we all settle in to our new normal!

    • Rabbit! Rabbit! Happy April, Chris! πŸ’• You have been on my heart, too, my friend. Life took a very sudden, very unexpected turn. It truly was a blessing that my parents were staying with us when my dad’s heart attack happened! He received the best medical care and my parents found great strength with their whole family gathered around them. Now we are looking ahead and embracing this new rhythm of life.
      Huge hugs for your mom, Chris! Now garden therapy will be good medicine for her. Having important work to do gives one a reason to keep moving. I’m so happy to hear that your mom is back in her garden, with a special bench nearby for resting. Deep breath, my friend!
      It’s a beautiful place to live, Chris! When aging in place is no longer an option, there are other nice choices. I think the people who live there will continue to thrive, with help as needed. I have been looking at different places for the past few years. This special place offers a very nice Transitional Memory Care option, along with Assisted Living. This will help so many seniors continue to live their best lives. Residents only have to be 55 years old to live there! There is even a small greenhouse for residents to grow plants. In the warm weather, neighbors can enjoy a lovely garden with a fountain, lots of benches, and a pergola. (Someone else will do all of the weeding!πŸ˜‰) Wouldn’t it be fun to live in a beautiful place surrounded by kindred spirits? Sending you a few quiet hours to refresh and recharge, dear Chris! πŸ’—

  6. You are a treasure, Dawn. I know it’s been a long journey for all of you, but how wonderful to finally have your folks settled into a lovely new home, free of the challenges that come with a large house, and now so very close to you and your extended family. It was a treat speaking with you via FaceTime this week. I look forward to more visits, perhaps one with you sitting in your beautiful garden. Sending virtual hugs your way. xo

    • Kindred spirits, dear Alys! Thank you for all of your support throughout this journey. Your valuable tips and listening ear are always so appreciated. Our FaceTime visit was such a joy, Alys! Sipping tea with a friend warms the heart every time. We must plan a virtual visit when my Friendship Garden bed is filled with Peonies, Irises, Tulips, and Anemones in bloom! While we wait for my garden to wake up, hope we can enjoy your California garden together one day. It’s still chilly here. On my walk in the park yesterday, I wore a winter jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves. I stopped in the Conservatory to warm up and was treated to a beautiful Springtime display of Daffodils! Ahhhh, such a lovely breath of Springtime! Love you, Alys! πŸ’—

  7. Your parents’ new home looks lovely and comforting. I have visited several like this, and the seniors live a full active life with a lot of social interaction. Good to know your Dad is recovering and moving on to rehab. I know your parents know this, but they truly are lucky to have such a caring supporting family. I hope as they settle in you have time to garden and craft. Life is good now that things are settling down. πŸ™‚

    • So true, Judy! There is a very happy feeling every time I walk into their new home! We are all overjoyed to have our parents living close by again. I have been visiting and helping out almost every day. Hugs in person are so much sweeter than long distance phone calls!
      I’m really looking forward to time in the garden, Judy! 😊 So grateful that I worked so hard to ‘right size’ my garden over the past few years. I knew that much busier days were just around the corner! Happy Springtime in your garden, too, my friend! πŸ’—

    • Oh, thank you, Kathy! Little by little, step by step, we are adjusting to all of the changes. Such a big, cross-country move is a very difficult thing, especially at my parents’ age. I’m so proud of them and grateful for all of the lessons they are teaching us!
      I will share your warm wishes with my parents today, Kathy! Thank you for visiting and joining in the conversation! πŸ’—

  8. It is so good to hear that the move went as well as it could, even as difficult as this can be. Your family is so supportive, Dawn, and it sounds like everyone worked together, each in their own way, to make this happen. Your parents’ new home and community looks like the best move for them. They have shown you by example and you have walked remarkably with them on this journey. Life is a journey, after all, and this is a new chapter for them, and you to embrace.

    I have a dear friend, who just recently moved into a senior living facility. She was the librarian in our daughters’ elementary school, became a friend and has been part of our book group for many years now. The move was hard, made harder because she had to do most of the work. A few weeks ago, she held our book discussion in her new home. It was heartwarming to see her happy again, enthusiastic to show us around their apartment, then around the campus. We even ate lunch, comped by the facility, and had one of our best discussions in awhile in one of the many rooms on their campus. Donna, at 88, is a medaled Senior Olympian. She is planning her next Olympics – and even managed to drop to the floor and do pushups! I have a feeling she’s going to whip her senior living facility into shape pretty quick. All this to say, you Mom and Dad will adjust at their own pace, in their own way, as will you. Blessed you all are to have each other, Dawn.

    • So very true, Penny! This difficult journey has been filled with countless blessings. I’m so very proud of my parents for embracing their new lifestyle! This has truly been the hardest thing we have ever done!
      In my heart, I think of it as a new beginning. (I always celebrate beginnings!) Three weeks ago, we all helped my parents move into their new apartment. I have watched my parents blossom each day, making new friends and helping others along the way!
      Being among the first to move in brought back sweet memories of their past homes. My parents were one of the early neighbors after building our childhood home. They were also among the early neighbors when their desert home was built twenty-five years ago. So, I wasn’t surprised that they looked forward to being among the first to move into this brand new community. They have always been adventuresome!
      Thank you so much for sharing Donna’s story with us, Penny! I believe she WILL make her next Olympic Dream a reality! I know how much it meant for her to welcome her old friends to her new home. Last week, my parents welcomed friends visiting from Arizona, gave them a tour, and had a lovely lunch together. Welcoming friends always makes a new place feel like Home Sweet Home! 😊We are already planning some holiday celebrations there. My mom and I will create a container garden on their large balcony in May!
      We are all feeling so very blessed. Each day, my twelve mile drive seems to get shorter and shorter. It still feels like a dream! Heartfelt thanks for sharing our family’s story, dear Penny! πŸ’—

  9. Dawn, your parent’s new home is lovely and inviting. It’s wonderful they are now meeting new friends in their new home. They are so close to you now and I know that is comforting to you, my friend. It’s been a long journey to this point. I know your parents must be so thankful to have you and John and of course your brothers to help them with this transition. It’s lovely to see a post on my feed from you. You have such a grateful and loving heart. It’s a pleasure to know you, dear one. xoxo

    • Your friendship is truly a cherished gift, Martha Ellen! We just returned from an afternoon with my parents. It’s such a happy feeling each time we walk in the door! New neighbors continue to move in each day. It’s fun to see my parents welcoming each new neighbor! We are busy helping every day… and enjoying our time together immensely. I’m trying to make time to visit special blogging friends whenever time allows. I’m still adjusting to this new rhythm and taking things one moment at a time. Thanks for always being here, sweet friend! πŸ’—

  10. No move goes completely according to plan and it’s wonderful that all of you were able to flex through it. Your journal pages are beautiful and thoughtful. Twelve miles is better than 1800.miles. I’m so glad your dad survived the heart attack after such a difficult move. I’m at the other end of this transition. Wrapping up a lifetime is not an easy task. But it must be done or the kids have to do it. You all made a wise choice. Wishing you wonderfilled days ahead. Hugs

    • Heartfelt thanks for your very kind words, dear Marlene! Yes, being flexible is key during times of great transition. I’ve been learning some great life lessons throughout these very challenging times. Although there has been much planning, preparing, and attention to detail every step of the way, we are all learning to just take things moment-by-moment! I’m so very proud of my parents for taking this huge step! They have been settling in at their beautiful, new senior living community and adjusting to all of the changes. It’s so nice to be able to stop by daily to help out, visit, and go to doctors’ appointments together. Our family had a lovely Easter celebration at my parents’ new apartment. Making special holiday memories always helps a new place feel more like ‘Home Sweet Home.’

      Marlene, I will keep you very close to my heart as you being taking steps toward your own easier, more carefree lifestyle. I encourage you to keep taking baby steps each day as you downsize and donate treasures. It’s not an easy thing to do, but you will feel so glad when you can settle in and enjoy all of life’s blessings without all of the worries! You might even say, “I wish I had done this sooner!” πŸ™‚ I’ll be right here, holding your hand along the way, Marlene! Warmest hugs! β™‘

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