On the day we communicated that the town house transferred ownership, my brother and I arrive at my parent’s apartment together. My mom is too aggressive and confrontational to send any one in alone.
We show up and immediately run to the jigsaw puzzle set up in the living room. We started a 1000-piece puzzle a few days ago as an activity we could all do together. While neither of my parents would start a puzzle now, we used to do them when we were younger and it gives us a neutral activity
My mom paces around the room like a caged tiger. She is ready for activity. My dad is happy sitting alongside us and will accept direction. He seems to find a safe harbor from my mom’s agitation.
My mom will come in the room and demand to know where the items from the town house are. We tell her we moved it all into storage and have it labeled. We can arrange to go get anything from storage — what does she want?
“I want my frame chopper. I just got permission to put it into the apartment yesterday and want to move it in here.”
If you haven’t seen one, it’s a pretty large piece of equipment and it belongs in a workshop, not a bedroom. However, this isn’t going to be a reasonable conversation, so we just agree to act on her request. We tell her we will call to have it arranged to be delivered. She demands that we drive her to the storage facility and load it in the back of the car.
We suggest we start measuring to figure out where it will go and where to place it. My mom get’s her yardstick and we talk through the project. We discuss which pieces of furniture that would need to be moved. We offer to move the bureau and put the pictures into the storage unit but my mom does not want help, she just wants to know when the chopper will be moved into the guest bedroom.
We patiently take turns working alongside or repeating the conversation to keep her busy. It is the only topic and activity that seems to bring her peace now. Practiced.