Catherine was not sure that she had enough information. Once again, she found herself in her parents’ house, just like she had the weekend prior. She tried to distract herself from her nervousness by removing Chloe’s black tufts of hair from her light linen skirt. She really should go get the vacuum.
John and James had prepared her well for the conversation she hoped to have. They had all agreed that seeking some help for mom and dad was the right thing to do, whether that meant looking into a nice seniors’ community, or researching homecare options so that their parents could remain at home a little longer. At first, she would have liked to see her mom and dad remain in their home. That was always the plan. She firmly remembered conversations they had on the subject, years ago, but things were very different now. Expectations don’t always work out, and plans that make sense in the moment, don’t always make sense later on. Even with homecare, Catherine knew that she would have to help with other things. It was an old house on a large piece of property. Mom and dad had good pensions, but if they had to pay for major renovations, structural repairs, regular grounds keeping, house cleaning and in-home support, the income they had each month suddenly didn’t look so great. She could help, but realistically, it would mean major changes in her household as well.
Catherine realized that she had been lost in her own thoughts for a while. Her parents, who were sitting across from her, were now tuned into a program on the television. Everything felt so awkward. “So…um…I wanted to talk to you about something.” Charlie raised his eyebrows, so he definitely had heard her, but he remained focused on the screen. Hazel began to raise herself off the couch, “can I get you a cup of tea or something Catherine?” “No, that’s fine mom. I grabbed a coffee when I was driving through town. Look…” she paused again, trying to remain gentle but assertive without defaulting to her usual impatient and irritated tone, “James and John…” she paused again, “and me…well, we’ve been rather concerned about you two lately.” “Is that right?” Charlie sarcastically grunted, not once taking his eyes off the screen. Catherine’s frustration was growing, but she had vowed to herself not to have to go back to John explaining that the conversation today had failed miserably. She refused to have her older brother come to the rescue…again. “I remember that the two of you had been looking at seniors apartments…you even went on a tour of one of your friends’ places right?” Charlie finally looked at her. “Their names are Lloyd and Marilyn…they have been in your life since you were twelve…they came to your wedding, and your baby showers, and bought you some pretty expensive gifts if I remember correctly…you should do more to remember who they are.” Catherine could feel her face growing red. Her toes were curled up in her heels. She took a deep sigh and proceeded as calmly as possible. “Yes, I remember them fondly, I just know you two have a lot of friends and wasn’t sure it was Lloyd and Marilyn you had visited. In any case…” Catherine stopped mid-sentence as her mother once again started shuffling off the couch. She had no choice and just blurted out “we think you guys need to move into something like that.”
There, she had said it. This wasn’t how she envisioned this conversation going at all. She couldn’t even look up from her skirt as she was certain her parents were looking back at her with a look that would guilt her to her core. John was going to chew her head off. She knew it. Then, slowly, from the other side of the coffee table, she heard her father chuckle. “Is that all you came over here for? Silly girl, your mom and I have already decided that’s what we’re going to do.” She didn’t know if she felt relieved or embarrassed. “Oh, well…then…that’s good!” She raised her head to smile at them. Her dad continued chuckling. “What, did you think we needed permission from you kids or something? Why, we even have some brochures we collected from that Seniors Week thing we went to.”
Now Catherine felt foolish. Still, she knew what needed to be said. “Look mom…dad…I’m here on behalf of all of us to let you know that we are here to help. If this is what you’d like to do, I would be happy to come and look at places with you. James can help with all the legal and financial stuff…he’s really good at that…and John,” she couldn’t believe she was saying this, “always has the best advice because he does so much research.” She smiled, “I just want you to know that you’re not alone in making these decisions. They’re yours to make, but we are here to support you however we can.”
So it looks like things are finally in motion for Charlie & Hazel to move. What do you think their next steps should be?