Garage Sales

So, I’ve got this hodge-podge of country songs stuck in my head, kind of like a new mashup, I guess. Chris Stapleton’s “Fire Away” is playing quietly right now, but in my head—at the moment—I am mostly hearing lines from Sammy Kershaw’s song, “Yard Sale” mixed with “Too Cold At Home” by Mark Chestnut. And the funny thing is we don’t do country music like we used to.

I grew up on it, though, and these days, I find myself listening to country more often because it connects me to my childhood. To my mom and dad, the way they used to be.

So, “Yard Sale” is kind of front and center right now, because we’re having a garage sale. I hate everything about garage sales. Every. Single. Thing. We didn’t shop garage sales when I was a kid. My parents didn’t have a lot of garage sales when I was younger, so it’s just never been my thing. My husband’s family? I remember hanging out at a few sales when we were dating, making a donut run here and there; I even remember hanging out at a sale at his grandma’s house once. I wouldn’t say my husband enjoys the work involved, and he doesn’t enjoy watching our designer clothes go for next to nothing. But he’s pretty OCD, and after a while, he can’t stand having rooms piled with things to get rid of. He’s also a social butterfly, so I think he enjoys talking to people who wander in and out.

We’ve had a few in our twenty-six years of marriage, and I always tell him to go nuts. I confess to putting in minimal effort to help him. The whole thing just depresses me, always has. I get over attached to things, even to clothes, because of the memories they evoke. So, I’m not handing over a stuffed giraffe or a denim jacket for a few bucks. I’m handing over the giraffe that sat in the corner of my daughter’s baby bed the first two years of her life or the denim jacket that I got in Chicago on the trip when…

It’s harder today. But then everything I do is harder these days, because my life has changed so, so much in the past couple of years. My life has changed drastically again just in the last month. My mom has Alzheimer’s Disease, and my dad has been struggling for the past few years as her caretaker. If you know me personally or if you’ve kept up with some of my Facebook or Instagram posts, you know things have gone downhill rapidly.

We recently made the decision that a memory care facility was the best option for her safety. Really, it was a smooth transition compared to how I thought it would go down. Hasn’t been all smooth sailing, no, but it hasn’t been the absolute hell I thought it would be. And yes, it’s been harder for my dad—who am I kidding? It’s been hardest for Dad, no question. Mom has her good days and bad days, but the thing is, she doesn’t remember the bad days like we do. Which, yes, only makes it harder for us, mostly Dad.

For so long, we tried to reason with Mom about what had to be done, and then finally, you get to the point that you realize you can’t reason with an Alzheimer’s patient. But for some reason, I still thought there was time. I thought that once we settled Mom in her new room at the memory care facility that we could visit with her, and that she would be happier, and we would be happier, and everything would be okay for a while.

Well, we do visit her. And she’s not necessarily unhappy, but she’s not happy, either. She’s just not Mom. The facility is brand new; it still has a new house smell. It’s beautiful, and the caretakers are so good to her, and most importantly, Dad and I know she’s safe. Since she’d wandered off on her own several times before, that is the one thing we needed—her absolute safety.

But her mental decline has progressed. It’s actually gotten worse, and there’s no semblance of a normal conversation now.

That makes me sad.  I really miss her. And it breaks my heart to see my dad without my mom. They were inseparable, and he looks incomplete without her.

Yesterday was the 4th of July, and we had a little impromptu cookout. We had some friends over, and my aunt and my cousin’s wife were here. My parents were here, and they stayed a while, which is unusual, because Mom’s pretty fidgety and always wants to be on the go. It was a nice day—pleasant, I guess.

But we’re not a pleasant family. We’re fun and bold, and we live big and happy and play hard. My mom is the life of the party…Well, she used to be…

So, just a little while ago, my husband sold my pink leather jacket…I didn’t even realize it was in the garage sale stuff, so that was frustrating. But also, my parents gave it to me a few years ago and so, it was a double whammy…

I had to get up and go inside. We get to close up in 23 minutes.

But we have to do it all over again tomorrow.