In the days following the initial move, my siblings and I started working through both their retirement apartment and their town home to clear up and prepare to sell, donate and close them out.
What quickly emerges is information about the daily life of our parents they have kept hidden from us for many years. Whether they did not remember or knowingly hid it is unknown. It makes me realize how much changed and how many cues I failed to recognize. Some of the changes happened so slowly, like the movement of a glacier, they were unnoticed until now when I can look back to see how much things had changed.
I openly admit to being dense when it comes to social cues. I recall how often my mom would ask me for a ride so I would pick her up and return her home when my dad could not make dinner due to his plans. When we found a repair bill during the home clean out, we see that my mom’s car had major front end repairs over three years ago. I never heard anything about this accident, my mom just seemed to like having other people drive her around and I never thought any more about it. I was actually thankful she asked for a ride.
As my brother starts reaching out to estate sale professionals, one of the firms tells him he’s been to my parent’s home many times and had dinner with them over the past year. I was very familiar with the firm and the owner because I’d been to many auctions with my parents. The news feels eerie.
I sure hope we already found out the worst of their secret life. Unsettled.
9 thoughts on “The secret life of my aging parents”
I drove my husband everywhere for about a year until on day I lost my temper and asked him why he couldn’t dirve himself. That day we discovered he had PD.
Thank you for sharing. It’s amazing how adaptable the brain can be. Well wishes to you and your husband.
When I prepped my my mom’s house for sale before moving her here, I discovered an office supply store in her guest room. Each closet and drawer was literally brimming with a bizarre amount of office and shipping materials.
That your parents had already been in touch with a real estate agent without you or your siblings’ knowledge indicates they knew their days in their home were numbered, but that they did not want to relinquish control of their own affairs. It’s all about pride and holding on to one’s independence as long as possible. Be thankful that your mother asked for all those rides and be kind to yourself for not realizing what was going on. My mother was very proud of her clean driving record and referred to it whenever we tried to implore her to give up the car keys. When cleaning out her place, I found copies of bills for the repair of the condo building’s underground garage’s door as well as the cost of security tape retrieval. My brother and I had never heard of the incident and she has never mentioned it either.
We too were shocked by the ‘secret life’ my husbands father had, especialy after mum died. It is un-nerving to say the least, but I imagine our children might find many secrets about us when we move into care or die too. There is so much we keep ‘secret’ from the whole world, our own very private life.
As I often say to service providers when speaking about living with dementia, asking my parents or my children what I like or don’t like will probably not get the appropriate responses, or example, I never discuss my sex life with either of them!!
After hearing stories from family members about loved ones secrets being discovered, I have tried to clean up paperwork and tossed or gave away so many things. I haven’t hoarded anything and feel sorry for those who do.
You are ahead of the game! I hope to do the same. Thank you for your note.
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