(4) The Day My Mother Died

When I got the dreaded call that my mother had been rushed to the hospital, my mind started spinning with many thoughts all at once. What was going on? Would she be alright? My mother was approaching ninety, but I still thought that she would live forever! She had health issues but was self-sufficient until the day she died. She lived in the same house since 1955, took care of her own financial affairs, and was still driving.  (more…)

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(5)  Give Yourself Enough Reasons To Do Something That’s Difficult
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

(5)  Give Yourself Enough Reasons To Do Something That’s Difficult

Funerals are difficult as it is, but the sad feelings and strained family relationships are magnified when you’re in a fragile emotional state. My mother made me the executor of her estate. My sisters wanted more of a say in the decisions to be made. I decided that allowing this was not in my best interest — not if I wanted to get anything done and keep my sanity!

The last thing I needed was to have more drama in my life! Whenever I got together with my sisters for family gatherings, there was always some kind of manufactured conflict. It took the joy out of what was supposed to be a happy occasion. As much as I dreaded these events, I went along with them until the day my mother died. (more…)

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(6) What do I do in the next chapter of my life?

Although I had been wanting to leave New Jersey for a while, I had decided that I would not make any major life changes while my mother was still alive. She was self-sufficient for her age, but there were a number of things she needed help with, and I wanted to be there for her. I had been self-employed for 35 years and was determined to keep going for as long as I could, until something either happened to me or to my mother, whenever that time might be. (more…)

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(7) The Start of An Overwhelming Process
Photo by Victor Garcia

(7) The Start of An Overwhelming Process

The idea of preparing for a move halfway across the country seemed like a daunting, almost impossible task! Where do we even start? Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself of the old Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I find that just taking that first step, however big or small, can curtail the feeling of helplessness that comes with overwhelm. Taking action always makes you feel more in control.

In order to get ready for our long-distance move, my wife and I knew that it would be best to downsize as much as possible. We understood that the process of deciding what to keep, throw out, or give away was going to be difficult — though it was a hundred times more challenging than we ever thought! (more…)

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