This memory popped up on Facebook. Three years we were renovating our old 1930’s house. Oh right – there used to be a wall there!
So many changes in our lives since then. One of the reasons we did the renovation was so Mom could move in with us. And even though that only lasted a few months, I am glad we were able to try that. She had really been struggling since my dad passed away in 2013. Not only was she missing my dad, but she had anxiety, depression, and dementia was setting in. She had driven the car through the wall of the garage the previous summer. She gave up the keys after that, but was still in her house. Without being able to drive she was becoming increasingly isolated which wasn’t helping with the other issues. We decided to make space for her with the hope that she would move in with us.
This is from the third major renovation on the house since we purchased it in 1991. Each time has been a challenge as we lived in the house during the renovation. This one was a compete gut of the first floor. We took down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to open up the floor plan. The first floor bathroom was tiny and had a bathtub which was enclosed most of the way around due to a wall. So we had the first floor bathroom enlarged and made more accessible by converting the tub to a larger shower, adding a seat and grab bars, and widening the doorway. We also installed continuous wood flooring on the first floor with the exception of the bathroom. We had a lot of thresholds before and these would have been a tripping hazard. We converted my office into a first floor bedroom for her and partitioned off part of the family room to make a sitting room for her.
We still had our bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs. But our back porch – which is not heated – became our kitchen/dining room/family room. We moved the refrigerator, TV, and a couple of space heaters out there. And I cooked up our meals using an electric skillet, a microwave, and a crockpot.
A few months after the renovation was complete we convinced Mom to move in with us. It was a relief to get her out of the house and get it sold! She only stayed with us for about five months. She did not enjoy living with us! She moved to an independent living apartment which was a much better situation than living in a large empty house by herself. We always knew her stay with us would probably just be transitional. Unfortunately her mental health situation continued to deteriorate.
Here’s how some of the same rooms look today:
Now her bedroom is a man cave for the boys. And her sitting room turned into a beautiful office for me. We have a lovely first floor bathroom and my new kitchen is beautiful.
Now that Mom has gone to her eternal rest (for over a year now) I am happy to have the peace of knowing that we did everything we could to help her. It was rough those last few years watching her suffer and I am grateful for all of the incredible support from my family, my siblings, and all of our friends.