When Mum was diagnosed back in April 2017, one of the first things we began to investigate was her living situation. She lived in a rented house, and we needed to know (a) if it could be adapted; (b) if the landlords would adapt it; and (c) how to get to the top of the priority list for a council flat or bungalow.
It was a long, slow and difficult process. I am relieved Mum’s condition hasn’t progressed quicker, as the living arrangements would have quickly become untenable. It has been nine months now, and she finally moved into an adapted ground floor flat last weekend.
Last weekend was a sad time for Mum and her husband. The house they were leaving was their first home as a couple, and the place they returned to on their wedding day. When they moved in 2016, they could not have imagined that these were the circumstances in which they would have to leave.
Nobody really likes moving – the days of living with boxes everywhere, unable to find anything. Mum definitely finds that difficult. However, it was also a very stressful time for Mum, who found herself limited in helping us move everything from one house to the other. Her left hand is quite weak, so even something as simple as bubble wrapping the plates and glasses was a challenge. So while the chaos of the move went on around her, she was confined to her wheelchair. The best she could do was drive back and forth with bags on the back of the chair.
Luckily the new flat is only 100 yards away, and is so much better in every way. The rooms are light, bright, more spacious, and the doors have been widened. Mum can even move around in her electric wheelchair, affectionately known as ‘The Tank’ because of its size. That’s more than we’d expected.
Outside is a communal garden – a beautiful space, maintained by the company who own the houses, and shared with her neighbours, promoting community and ensuring she will never be lonely. She can put her planters outside and look after her flowers, but won’t have to worry about mowing the lawn. It’s a dream!
I know we all would have loved for none of this to happen, but we can’t get away from the fact that it is. Rather than seeing this new flat as a symbol of what she can’t do anymore, I’m choosing to look at it as a symbol of hope, hoping for a better quality of life than she has had recently. It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, and an inherently positive thing for Mum and our family.
Home is supposed to be where the heart is, and I hope this new home can make Mum happy, a safe harbour in a storm.
The main question now is … is it really big enough to have a joint house warming for Mum and birthday party for me next week?