These were all important aspects, but what made my parents the happiest? Of course, the fact that Jackson would be covered. After all, he's a part of the family too! The place my parents chose was willing to put in a fence off the patio for Jackson, and the 19-acre campus, with grass and mature shade trees, offers unusually great dog-walking turf in sunny Phoenix.
P.S. My mom was also thrilled the place was big enough to house a fancy new TV, too! Ahhh yes, quality of life is just as important as quality of care. It's the little things in life, isn't it?!
The Unspoken Sorrow
As we went through the beginning phases of this change, everyone's emotions were on edge, to say the least. While we all wanted to stay positive, and my Dad is the eternal optimist, he was angry about not being able to drive. All four of us (daughters) are experienced job stressers. Two of my sisters, who are at points in their lives where they can't help in person, felt removed from the process. There was also a sense of urgency, counterbalanced by a need for time to make prudent decisions. And ever present was the sorrow that The Big Move represented the end of a phase in my parent's lives. Things in our family would never be quite the same again.
It is one of the most difficult times in the life of a family, and this kind of change can cause resentments, arguments, and rifts in even the closest of families. Mine is no exception. We are just human, trying to do the best we can. All we could do was e-mail, have conference calls, and have faith that this was the right time, and the right move.
While it's not a good idea to push the decision, there was a sense of relief once the decision had been made. It was time to move on, time to put our energies into practical tasks, like going through closets, choosing paint colors—and getting a fence put up for Jackson.