Good Things Come

Patience may be a virtue, but it’s not one of mine.  I’m the sort who skips dessert and then steps on the scale to see how many pounds I’ve lost.  I wanted my new dog, Finn, to drop all of his annoying habits right away, even though he’s only one-year old.  (You’d think the fact that I’m sixty-one years old and still have almost all of my annoying habits would mean I’d be a little more patient with him.  But you’d be wrong.)  And when I planted this year’s tomato seedling, I immediately started planning the recipes I was going to make with this year’s bumper crop of tomatoes.

So now that my mom has made the decision to move into a retirement home, I’m ready to pack her up and move her in there as soon as possible….next week at the very latest.  And of course that’s not going to happen.

Never mind the fact that she’s going to be moving from a three-bedroom house (with a full basement and a garage) to a one-bedroom condo, which is going to require major down-sizing.  It’s going to be a huge task simply to decide which of her possessions she wants to take with her, never mind what to do with all the stuff she doesn’t want to take.  And then there’s all the chores that go with any move:  the change of address cards, shutting off utilities in the old house, hiring a mover, etc.  All of it takes time.

But the biggest problem is that the retirement community she’s selected has a waiting list, and we’ve been warned that it could be as long as a year before a unit opens up for her.  Which means that I’ve got too much time to spend worrying and fretting as I wait for this move to actually happen.

What if she has a major health issue in the next few months and no longer meets the “independent living” requirements?  What if we get rid of all her extra stuff and then she changes her mind about moving?  What if everyone who currently lives in the retirement home actually stays there for the next ten years, and a condo never becomes available?  There are so many things that could go wrong that my mind just reels…

But this, like so much in life, is something that I really can’t control.  Yes, I want to see my mother safe and happy in her new home, and I do think she’s made the right decision to move.  But the process isn’t going to go any faster if I fret and worry than it will if I manage to step back, take a deep breath, and let things work out however they happen to work out.

IMG_5532 2Because sometimes, I think, we just have to trust that once we’ve done everything we can to make something happen that it often does….if we can just wait a little while.  Finn may still annoy us now and then, but his behavior has improved enormously since he first moved in.  We kept my son’s dogs last week, and the three of them got along just great with no issues at all.  That’s progress.  And I may not have a bumper crop of tomatoes just yet, but I do have enough to make a tasty addition to the salad I’m serving with dinner tonight.

So maybe, just maybe, it’s time for me to admit that there’s some truth to that old saying, “good things come to those who wait.”  And then learn to do it with patience and trust….

92 thoughts on “Good Things Come

  1. I agree – sometimes when we try to hurry or control things, they just unfold beautifully on their own. I’ve certainly looked back many times only to realise I needn’t have worried (you’d think I’d learn from this but I never seem to!) I hope you can get your mother settled soon though, Ann.

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    • Thanks, Julie! I think part of the problem is that I’ll feel she is in a better place once she moves in, so I’m anxious for that to happen. But who knows? This might not work out at all. And some of my friends have pointed out that this time could be well spent to make the decisions needed about downsizing her stuff. Meanwhile, I’m trying very hard to learn to trust the process! (And I’m like you, no matter how many times my worries tend to be for nothing, I still worry in the next situation!)

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  2. Patience and trust is hard especially when it comes to things of this nature. Anticipation is hard to cope with along with the worry. The nice thing about time is you can decide what to keep and what not to. Much easier to downsize over time instead of in a bit of a panic. Its nice she was able to decide instead of a must. Hang in there 💗🌸

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    • Yes, we are very lucky she’s in a position of deciding to move into an independent living apartment rather than having to be moved into assisted living or skilled nursing. That would be a MUCH harder adjustment! And from what I’ve heard, once she’s actually in independent living, they make every effort to keep her there. I hope that’s true! Thanks for your encouraging words, Lisa!

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  3. and let it be a lesson that we need to plan such downsizes well ahead as these retirement villages do have waitlists … most love the social aspect of community living. It will open at the right time!

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    • Thanks, Kate! I like to think it will. And honestly, she still gets around very well for her age, but the social aspect of the community is probably the strongest draw for her. That, and not having to worry she might be in trouble when bad weather hits, etc. If the streets aren’t safe, then we can’t get over there to make sure she’s okay. I agree about the downsizing…everyone should think about that and try not to have more stuff than they absolutely need, I believe!

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      • I was really referring to putting our names on the list for our preferred retirement village well before the need arises. My Mum has had her name down for years and it’s climbed to the top many times. They call her, she says no thanks and we are all relieved that should she need a quick admission we know they’d take her because they’ve got to know her over those phone calls.

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  4. One year ago, I could have written this post, Ann. It was one of the most stressful times in my life. I was worrying about getting my parents moved and on a deadline for my book. I’ll be the first to admit, I have no patience when it comes to a loved one and their well-being. Keep in mind, sometimes the retirement homes have openings sooner than they think. Trust is key!

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    • Thank you so much, Jill! I do hope that they are giving us the “worst case scenario” on the wait list times, and I know that many people put their name on more than one list, so spots can open up sooner than anticipated. But you’re right, what makes it extra hard to be patient (besides my normal personality) is that I honestly believe the time has come when she’ll be better off in that setting than living alone in her own home. And when we toured it and talked to some of the other residents, they all said they wished they’d moved in sooner!

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    • Thank you! And a couple of my friends who have gone through this said the same thing: it is a gift not to have to hurry as we prepare her for her new home. I’m going to hang on to that thought for sure!

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  5. Oh I hear you. So annoying to allow things to unfold despite your best efforts. It’s like the universe is out to get you, but it isn’t. Or at least that’s what I’ve learned. Hang in there. All is well.

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    • Thanks, Ally! There are times when I feel as if the cards are stacked against me, but then I look at the bigger picture and realize that I’m really very lucky. I just need to learn patience and trust that things will work out if we just do our best! Thanks so much for your encouragement!

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  6. Oh Ann – it is sooo hard! we’ve been through what you are going through with your mom. First with my grandma, then my hubby’s parents. It is so easy to tell someone else not to worry and that it will work out, but so much harder when it is you. But you are self reflecting and you are trying your best! And really you worry because you care and love so deeply. And that is surely not a bad thing in my book. You worry because you care so much and love so much! Just keep doing your best and try to take it a day at a time. I get it though…. I really get it. Sending hugs from Mars!

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    • Thanks so much, Jodi! You’re right, it’s hard because we love them and truly want what is best for them. And it’s stressful, because we’re not sure exactly how things will work out. But all we can do is our best and trust that it will be enough. Thanks for being such a sweet and supportive blogging friend. I really value you!!!

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  7. At any other time, I might have rolled my eyes at that saying, Good things come to those who wait but not today because God has gone to great lengths recently to tell me I really, really need to embrace patience.

    When I fall short, I hurry decisions that should be thought through carefully. I get upset with people who I perceive as slow-pokes. I end up doing things twice over. I uproot seedlings together with the weeds. I drive like a maniac.
    I hurt people with my lack of patience.

    When we fall short here, we hurry God. We go where we shouldn’t, lugging back troubles that do not belong to our present moment.

    Saddest of all, we miss the many graces God has planted into our present hours.

    I understand your hurry to have your mum settled. I used to get into a twist over my fast deteriorating mother-in-law and that didn’t get us very far. Now, we focus on helping her be as comfortable as possible where she is. We focus on making her feel secure.
    We make her laugh and help her forget for a while the shadows that hover close by.

    Impatience would have us think none of that matters.

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    • That’s a good point…impatience doesn’t do any good to any of us. And I do need to live in the present more. And as an illustration of what you said: we looked at another facility this morning that could take her as long as we could move her within thirty days! But that is way too soon and would have us behaving as you are describing. So we’ll learn patience, and it will work out, one way or another.
      Thanks, as always, for your insightful response!

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        • We need to live our lives as well and reach a compromise of sorts. A working arrangement of things has to work for all the people involved. If only one person is happy, and everyone else is miserable, then maybe, a new agreement has to be reached. And sometimes, unfortunately, there are people who are not at all sure of what will make them happy…it is not a matter of indulging one persons whims exclusively. In the end, that same person you try so hard to please, might still be unhappy. Old or young, we must respect the needs of others, and we must take responsibility for our own happiness. Our children do not hold the key to our happiness; we each must each take ownership of that key.

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            • I agree! The key is to come to a solution that works for everyone, and also to remember that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own happiness. The good thing about this process is that Mom, my sisters, my husband and I have had some very honest conversations about what is the best way forward, and we are taking everyone’s needs into consideration. Mom is ready to have a smaller home to manage and to have more people her own age around her for activities. We want her close by so we can easily help her and see her when needed. So the retirement home she is looking at is in our neighborhood, and we’re all good with that! I think honesty, and truly caring about everyone’s happiness, is what works best!

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    • Thank you! I think going through things, and deciding which family members and friends she wants to give things to, will be a time of fun memories. And I’m hoping that selecting the special pieces she wants to bring with her will also help her see the things she values most. Thanks for the comment!

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      • This is a beautiful way of looking at this. Your mom can identify the things she values most…This is a good point for all of us! I am trying to deal with decluttering on my own level also. My husband and I saved so much of our kid’s stuff thinking they might need it. As we help our parents sift through their belongings, we need to sift also! 🙂

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  8. You’re right, Ann, the process won’t speed up with worry. In fact, without fail, I have learned that the quicker you want things to happen, the longer they seem to take. This is especially true in important matters, like your mom’s relocation. Issues like these are stressful for most of us.

    I’m really glad Finn is socializing well, that’s a big step! Hang in there, sounds to me like you’re doing all the right things! Des

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    • Thanks, Des! You’re right, the more important something is, the more I need to practice patience, as it’s so much easier to make a mistake when I get flustered and in a hurry. As for Finn, he’s doing so much better. It kind of worried me when he got booted from the group play sessions at the doggie day care for “unprovoked aggression.” I honestly haven’t seen any indication of that at all, and that’s including having my son’s two dogs come and live with us for several days. They stuck their noses in Finn’s supper dish, slept on his bed, and the three of them played endlessly in the yard and the house (our floors will never be the same again.) And Finn was just fine. I don’t know what happened with that other dog, but I think I can quit worrying about it!

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        • You know, I worried about that for a while…mostly because they felt he was “gate guarding” which is a form of resource guarding, and very dangerous for young children. But I have NEVER seen any of that sort of behavior out of Finn at all. My grandson will bring Finn all of his dog toys, and then take everyone of them back, and then bring them again, and all Finn does is watch. He really isn’t a resource guarder at all! I don’t blame them for kicking Finn out of the doggie play group…he did hurt another dog….but something happened that provoked that, even though I’ll never know what. Finn is great with every other dog he’s been around, and he’s great with my toddler grandson. So I’m just going to let go of that particular worry and trust that Finn is the right dog for us!

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    • I like the way you think! Sometimes we have to try to make things happen. But when we can’t, then we just have to be patient, which can be hard for me. Still, I know that big decisions like this can’t always be hurried, and things will probably work out the way the should. Thanks for your good wishes!

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  9. Some say we learn patience with age. Others say, old folks run out of patience. Lol. I know I am more patient now than I was 30 years ago. It must all depend on the person. And as for elderly parents new chapters in life, I know that time is coming. Downsizing will be horrific. Not looking forward to that. I guess I will have to be….. patient. Lol

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    • I do think I’m more patient that I used to be, but trust me, that isn’t saying a lot! Heaven help us all if I get even more impatient with age…..LOL! But yes, the downsizing is going to be hard. Especially since my mom is a little ADD and is distracted quite easily. We’re thinking the way to go is to have her decide what she wants to take with her first, and then we’ll figure out what to do with the rest of it. If we wait for her to get rid of all the excess before she moves, that move will never happen!

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      • My mother-in-law just refuses to downsize, Ann. She screamed when we tried to help her with it 12 years ago. As a result, her home is now unlivable except to her, there’s more stuff than floor and space, and my husband and I aren’t at the age where we can still clean and shine her house despite all the things around. It’s very frustrating for us and it’s clear that even she’s upset at what the house has become but to change is way more scary for her.

        So, we finally decided to focus on what makes her happy and do everything we can to that end.

        It sure isn’t what we want but at the moment, there isn’t another way forward.

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        • Oh, I’m so sorry! I have heard so many other stories like that, where aging parents refuse to do what is best for them or even acknowledge that there is a problem. I am so lucky that my mom is happily downsizing her stuff in anticipation of this move. She actually called me today to tell me, proudly, that she got rid of all her old purses and is now working on her closet. Of course there will still be issues in the future…my mom is ADD and that’s not going to change….but it helps so much to know we are all moving toward the same goal. As for your MIL, I think you are taking the best possible path: just focus on what makes her happy, even if it is not what you know is best. And sometimes, all you can do is pray that things will work out for the best in the end. Hang in there!!!

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    • Yes, that’s what we’re going to do. I’m hoping we can get through the process without too much stress, and make good use of that time on the waiting list. And I agree about moving: that is exactly what forces all of us to get rid of stuff! The longer I live in a home, the more stuff I have!

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  10. Could you perhaps put Mum’s spare stuff in commercial storage for a few months just in case she changes her mind? I am just as bad. Had a fence panel fall down this morning and want it fixed this very minute, even though I’m getting a quote tomorrow. I think impatience is often a side effect of having so much on the To Do list. We feel a bit better if we can cross something off.

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    • I think you are right! The whole process of getting her moved to a retirement home and then getting rid of all the stuff she isn’t going to take with her (never mind the adjustment that it’s going to be to get settled into her new surroundings) does feel overwhelming, so I just want to get it over with. But things don’t work that way, which means I’ll have to learn a bit of patience as we move forward. And I agree that keeping the stuff she might truly need for a little while is a good idea, just in case she either changes her mind about where she wants to live, or what she needs in her new home. Thanks for the comment, Linda!

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  11. I agree that this waiting period is actually a blessing. Instead of rushing, your mom can calmly go through her possessions and decide what she really wants to keep. Waiting is hard, but very often worth it.

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  12. I also hate waiting. In fact, I used to get mad waiting for the next issue of my favourite comic magazine, or a film to release, or moving to the next grade in school in my younger days. Crazy things have a propensity to happen in between, upsetting the fun cart. But time has tamed the wildness in me over the years. In other words, I have grown obtuse.

    I wish the best to your Mom, and hope she moves to her new place at the earliest. I hope you are patient with our friend Finn. Did you tell him I liked his posts?

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    • I did, and Finn says “thank you!” I am learning to be patient with him, and he’s coming along nicely. I think the real problem is that we had Lucy for 16 years before she died, and so just got so very used to the way she behaved. I remind myself daily that she was a real challenge when she was Finn’s age, and that Finn is actually incredibly well behaved compared to Lucy! Finn is a good dog, just young and a terrier, which means he can be pushy….but hey, so can I, and I have no excuse!

      I hope to follow your example of becoming more patient as I age, as patience really is a good thing. Thanks for the comment!

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  13. It is great that your mother decided to make the move instead of being forced to move – that alone is a triumph! It took my mother over a year to parse out her things into the keep, give away, and sell categories and then to actually sell and give away things.She spent about 5 hours just going through her jewelry box trying to decide if she wanted to keep the broken yellow plastic bead necklace etc. All her things had some memory attached and it was taxing. She managed to do it and is happily living in a small apartment at my sister’s house. All in all a good arrangement for everyone! I hope the transition for your mother is likewise smooth and you can relax and patiently help her with the transition!

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    • Thank you! I know that I am very, very lucky that Mom has made this decision on her own. I have heard horror stories of aging parents that could no longer look after themselves, but still insisted on staying in their own homes and accepting no outside help whatsoever. For me, the real frustration is just wanting to do what is best for her and not being exactly sure what that is. But I’ve talked to her about that and we’ve both agreed that all we can do is move ahead with what seems best now, and deal with any changes that pop up along the way if/when they do. And right now, moving her to a smaller place where she’ll have less to keep track of, lots of people her age around, planned activities to choose from and someone there for emergencies makes the most sense. Thanks for sharing your experiences and for your good words!

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  14. I’m glad at least there’s a plan of what’s going to happen and that it’s something your mum’s happy with, but it does sound like a big task ahead and as you say, a lengthy wait!

    (Also wanted to add I’ve desperately wanted a dog, a golden retriever, for years now and I’d already named my invisible dog Finn. Great minds eh. Or not so great, considering I’m the one with the invisible dog.)

    Anyway – well off topic there! – it’s hard letting go of things we can’t control and not be stressed by them. But hopefully the mammoth task can be broken into doable tasks and you can both enjoy parts of it along the way. I honestly don’t know where this year has gone with it being August tomorrow already, so I’m sure the time for her to move will be here before you know it!
    Caz xx

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    • Yes, having a plan has helped enormously, and so has moving forward with visiting retirement centers and putting her name on a waiting list. We’ll probably put her name on another center’s list as well, so that will improve her chances of moving in within the next few months rather than waiting a whole year. And you’re right, the trick is to take this all one step at a time. Select a place, choose what is going with her, then deal with what is left and selling the house. Taken individually, none of those things sound overwhelming! Thanks for the kind comment, Caz! (And you know, I’m impressed you have an invisible dog named Finn…imaginations are a wonderful thing. And maybe someday you’ll get a real dog named Finn, too!)

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  15. “And do I think……she made a right decision to move.” And Finn is a new sheltered dog you adopted. Sorry to say or might hurt you but i am a bit confused by losing the most valuable and the most worthy person ‘mother’ moving to the retired community and dog becomes the member of family. Sorry if i hurt your feelings but isn’t it injustice.

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    • Don’t worry, my feelings aren’t hurt at all! My mom doesn’t live with us now, she lives in her own home. She doesn’t want to live in our house with us, she wants her own place with us nearby, which is exactly what she’s going to get. And she loves Finn and is quite happy that he’s living with us, so it’s all good. To each his own!

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  16. Ha! It’s so hard. I’m another person who simply cannot wait…for anything. I even tried to focus on being patient one year, but as I fussed as we waited for our order at a restaurant, my kid and her friend were like, “I don’t think it’s working.” lol

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  17. This post resonates with me as my mother is considering doing the same thing! You are ahead of me in that regard…my mother has yet to make a decision! I think making up our minds about something is often the hardest part of all. Once a decision has been made, and we work in that direction, things seem to follow through. Wishing you good luck with the condo for your mother, and I have been told by many wise people when sorting through stuff to keep…one box at a time!

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    • I think it is an issue that so many of us can relate to! We want what’s best for our parents, but we don’t always know what that is. Until very recently, my mom was very happy in her own house, and had no intention of going anywhere. But then she began to complain about being lonely and began to find keeping track of all that needed to be done in her house overwhelming, even though we were the ones who did the actual work and paid the bills. So that meant it’s time for her to have a smaller home to manage, with lots of activities and people her age around. Luckily, there are some nice retirement homes in her neighborhood that are very close to us, and she is on the waiting list for one, and will probably be on the list for another very soon. And honestly, just having her make a decision is a huge relief. This whole journey will be a “learn as you go” situation, but I think it will be just fine. Thanks for your kind comment!! And good luck with your mom. It will all work out…

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  18. I’m a very patient person, Ann, so much so that my mom – also 61 – keeps telling me I have dead nerves. she frets a lot too, where I, on the other hand , like to wait and see how things will happen before I act – not lazying, but not thinking about all the zillion ways it could go wrong either, especially if there’s nothing I can do to help or stop whatever it is. But, I must say, if that saying is true, I should have a wealth of great things coming my way.

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    • Good for you for being patient. I honestly do think you will have a wealth of things coming your way, because patience means you don’t rush in and fix things that don’t need fixing, nor do you make a bad situation worse by rushing in where you should have waited to see how things played out. Trust me, your way is a virtue, and you should be proud of that!!!

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      • Ha, it’s because I wait to see how things will play out that I’m considered to have dead nerves. but thanks for the vote of confidence, I know I’m more relaxed and less stressed than most because of that.

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  19. Everybody who knows me, knows that I’m not a patient one. 😉 So I don’t have any trouble relating to your impatience, Ann. Be it tomatoes, or the need to know that your mother’s taken good care of. There’s an equal saying in German about good things coming to those who wait, so there must be some truth in it. 😉 Learning when to be patient (and when not) is something I’m working at. Most of the time, I try to distract myself, like when I’m impatient that the paints on my canvas aren’t dried yet and I have to wait, then I wash the dishes, or read a book, or just listen to some music. I think, it’s the feeling that you might waste time when you can’t get the thing done that you want to get done, what’s bothering me. So I try to use that as well and make something good come of it. 🙂

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    • I understand, Sarah! That’s what I try to do as well: find something else to do while I have to wait. It makes the waiting so much easier. When I’m waiting at a doctor’s office, I always make sure I have something to read, too. That makes the waiting seem like a pleasant break in my day, rather than something I have to endure while wondering just exactly when I’m going to get in for my appointment!

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  20. This has been my own challenge and I have finally understood, that if we knew everything, faith wouldn’t be necessary. Besides, there are just too many variables-and we do not even know all of them. Just proceed-no matter what, cleaning out is needed -by all of us. Best wishes and peace to you.

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  21. It sounds as though you’re a bit of an over thinker Ann, like me. Sometimes it’s hard not to be and that’s when we have to take a step back and trust the process. And know that whatever happens we’ll cope. Wishing you and your mum all the best in this transition process.

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    • Oh yes, Miriam, I am certainly an over thinker! Learning to let go and trust the process is hard for me, but I’m getting better at it….mostly just because I realize I don’t really have a choice! And it is good to be reminded that I am not in charge of everything, always, which means I can let go of some of the stress and just let things play out as they will. Thanks for your encouraging words, they mean a lot!

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  22. Ann I totally get the impatient part. I am impatient on small things, yet patient for the big ones, if that makes any sense. I always enjoy reading you because you are such a natural story teller.

    A year ago my parents moved out of their flat into a tiny apartment and I was there for the transition once they moved in and thankfully my other sisters handled the get rid of stuff, packing phases. Whew. All of it is not easy. Initially they had a hard time adjusting to the new place but now a year later they really are settled and happy. So yes I think patience does often pay off.

    Peta

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    • Thanks for sharing that, Peta! It’s good to know that it eventually worked out for your parents, even if it took a while to make the adjustment. Mom is excited about this move, but I also know she doesn’t handle change well, so I’m a bit worried about how it will go until she is truly settled in. No one told us how hard this phase of our life could be, did they? But we manage!

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  23. Patience is not one of mine either. I’m so sorry about the stress you are under. Fret and worry never make a situation any better and certainly not easier, though I’m often guilty of both. I hope your mother continues to feel peace about the change and can move in soon for all parties involved. So glad to see the photo of Finn and friends! =)

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    • Thanks, Brenda! Right now, she is happily anticipating the move from her house to an apartment…it will be smaller and easier for her to manage, plus there will be lots of other seniors around and activities for her to do if she chooses. And she will still be close to us so we will see her often, which is important. But it is stressful, I’m not going to lie. It’s so hard to know what is the best thing to do!

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  24. This is the same moving advice I have just passed along (with love) to someone. There are many bumps, delays, mix-ups, but in the end, it all settles. The trick is not to panic. Delays are the hardest, though. Try not to worry.

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    • Thanks! It really does help to be reminded that, with patience, things usually do work out. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the stress of a pending move that we think it all needs to be done yesterday. And of course it doesn’t. Thanks again for your supportive comment!

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