My sister and I now count ourselves in the Sandwich Generation. That refers to Baby Boomers who are raising children, helping them through college and in getting a start in life — while also caring for their aging parents.
After our father died 3 1/2 years ago at age 88, our mother seemed to change overnight. Now, she lives in an assisted living facility suffering from dementia and physical impairments.
My sister lives near our mother in Florida and sees that she is well cared for. I attend to the finances and legal aspects from here in Cincinnati. I visit as often as I can, most recently to clear out her condo and list it for sale.
If you have ever done this for loved ones, either when they must move out of their home or after their passing, you know what an emotional experience this can be. This was actually the second time for us, as we had to sell our parents’ home (our family home) in Canton, Ohio, after Dad died.
We agonized over so many personal effects that for the most part had no economic value, but evoked memories of our childhood and lives with our parents. Do you keep it or throw it away? Or give it to charity? If I keep it, where will I put it? And so on.
The physical labor was hard, but the emotional work was the hardest. It was truly a Passage of Life. I wondered through the process whether our kids will one day feel the same bond to their past. Some of what we found I wouldn’t trade for a million dollars. Truly, there are legacies worth more than money!