It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better: The Messy Business of Moving Out

If you’ve been keeping up on my blog at all, you’ll know that my Mom recently passed away. I came to her apartment in Phoenix to help her with her health issues. They quickly spiraled out of control and she had to be moved to an in-patient facility. While we initially thought she’d be there just a few days until she was stabilized, she just kept getting worse until she died.

It was so sad.

So here I am, at her former apartment. It’s a gorgeous complex. I’m trying to clear out all the shmutz and get ready to pack it all up. It has to be done by the end of this week.

Just one view of the controlled chaos that is currently my life. Also, my Mom has a penchant for white sofas for some reason.

It’s been hard to sleep. Not only because I’m technically grieving—I did actually cry a bit last night, and I felt some relief. I grieve slowly, always. But doing this type of work is slow. I have to evaluate the usefulness of every piece of stuff I encounter and decide if I should keep it, toss it, or give it away. The storage space is minimal in this place, but Mom managed to squirrel away a shocking amount of…stuff. Like, two Magic Bullets, the original model and the updated one, clearly neither one much used. There were two immersion mixers, both a slow cooker and an Instant Pot (that one I’m taking home!) two AppleTVs…and so on.

It’s been quite the adventure.

Of course, there are many not-so-useful things, or things that are useful but that I don’t personally need. These will be sold at the estate sale, the proceeds of which will be given to a charity stated in her Will.

In the distance, the candelabra reveals the fact that it’s been sitting in the window in the Arizona heat

I managed to get through all of the cabinets by today, which was my goal. All that’s left are the desk drawers. They’re quite small. There won’t be much trash there. After that, it’s just her clothes in the closet, dresser and highboy, most of which will go to Goodwill. This will be very simple and I don’t expect it to drain me too much. I’m so tired each day. I pass out by 10:00 PM, but then I wake up around 3:30 AM and can’t get back to sleep. It’s frustrating. I don’t feel rested at that point. I’m a pro at managing my insomnia though, and I either ruminate or meditate for the next 6–7 hours and get up around 2:30 PM. I have to make sure I don’t overdo things. My Mom’s bed is considerably more comfortable than what they had at the care facility, thus I’m not waking up feeling like I’ve been beaten with a stick. That’s a blessing. I wish I could say the same for my feet.

Here we see stacks of things we plan to keep

In 2005, my Mom had a terrible incident with flesh-eating bacteria on the back of her right leg. By the time it was discovered, they had to remove most of her right calf and a good portion of her right hamstring. She was never the same afterward.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll recall my reference to her Will, also dated 2005.

Her only child who remained by her side during this trauma and her long recuperation, was her local child. It made sense. Her resentment was immature, yet not unexpected.

I was a single mother, and after looking for work for a long time, I’d finally found a job. I was still under probation when this had occurred, as well as being under one of our many speaking moratoriums that we’ve had over the years. I won’t bore you with the details of this instance—or perhaps that will be the subject of another blog post.

I got updates about Mom on a regular basis. I wanted to know how she was doing. I had no idea how bad it was. About a year later I ditched by old beater for a new car so I could confidently make the trip with a kid affordably (two tanks of gas versus two place tickets? Heck yeah!) and I saw the wounds. It was horrifying. Half of the back of her leg was gone. They’d had to take skin grafts from her backside to cover her leg. There was a part, right at the back of the knee, that they didn’t cover adequately. They didn’t compensate properly for the movement required in that area. She was never able to properly stretch or bend her leg. She walked with a cane for a few years, but eventually ended-up needing a walker.

Side note: Having used a walker myself when I was on chemo, I can safely say that everyone you see in public is using their walker totally wrong. Look next time. You’ll see them hunched over, unbalanced, their weight in front of them. It’s terribly unsafe. I was taught that you need to stand up straight, arms at your sides. If you can’t have them at your sides, your walker is at the wrong height for you. They’re adjustable and your weight should be centered so you don’t fall. This is why you see so many hip and shoulder surgeries.

Here we have the fullest picture of the badly controlled chaos that is my life

The reason this matters is because her apartment is accessible, and while it has more floor space, the carpet pile is non-existent. It’s hard on the feet and each day I find myself nearly wincing off to bed. I know, poor me.

The next step is fairly simple, and then I start building boxes and packing ’em up. While it looks like gobs of stuff, when I break it down in my mind, it’s really not that much. I unpacked her when she first moved in and I remember it was pretty easy, though she felt overwhelmed. However, I’m an old pro when it comes to moving, and I’m not easily intimidated by such things.

Not any more.

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