I cried again and no one was more surprised than me. I thought I had cried all the tears I was going to cry and had moved on to ‘practicality mode.’
Today’s task was simple; move her final belongings from the care facility to storage—items I had carefully chosen so she would feel at home. Items I hoped would bring familiarity and would break through the cruel web of dementia.
Because of Covid restrictions all her items were packed by someone else. I just had to call the movers when the packing was complete and ready to go. I was pleased to see the same crew arrive that had moved her in less than a month ago.
As they were loading the truck, the lead man said, “What happened, she didn’t like it here?”
My husband quietly responded, “She passed.”
That is when it happened; my tears started flowing.
The movers were dumbfounded. I knew exactly how they felt because I felt the same when I got the news. Sweet but awkward words tumbled out of their mouths and then a bustle of activity ensued to break eye contact with my raw grief.
It did not take long to load the truck, and off we went to storage. It was my job to hand carry her favorite bedside lamp and unlock the storage unit so I could put the lamp in a safe place before the movers unloaded the remaining items. I hopped on the elevator and gently set the lamp on the floor at her unit to unlock and lift the big overhead door.
Once I ensured it was securely open, with no chance of rolling back down, I picked up the lamp and began to spy out the safest little cubby inside to protect the fragile little lamp. I found a place very quickly and carefully placed it back out of the way so it would have no contact with the incoming furniture and boxes.
From start to finish, it took an hour to complete the job. I took one last look inside the unit and felt those tears threatening to fall a second time, so I gently closed and locked the door, on over 60 years of her life.
My Aunt would have been so happy with the mover’s tidy organization and care of her things. She would have laughed at the eight garment racks lining either side of the storage room filled with her clothes. I thought my idea to do that was so clever because it would have allowed me to easily retrieve alternate clothing for her.
Eight garment racks? I suddenly realize I was her caregiver for eight years. Hmmmm. Just like the garments on those racks, some were relaxing and fun, however, some were dark and uncomfortable.
What I love the most is we no longer must watch her suffer with a broken mind and body, because both are now perfect. She no longer must worry about anything! But best of all, she is with JESUS!
Rest In Peace, Aunt Billye.