Stories from the Garage
I spent half of October working on big out-of-town projects. First was a return visit to my client with Parkinson’s. She’s moved to assisted living, and I’m helping to clear out her former home. Disabilities make it difficult for her to participate in the work in a meaningful way, but we continue to include her in decision-making—even when the decisions are largely symbolic—to help her cope with the transition to a new living space.
The second project was my mother’s garage. She’s in great health and still fully engaged in her life. But she hasn’t been able to park the car in the garage since she moved to North Carolina 10 years ago, so I went to help dig it out.
She stalled by any means possible—we had to shop, mulch the backyard, and clean her closet—but eventually she surrendered and we got to work. For three days, we sorted through boxes that belonged to her mother and files that had never made it into the house. We discarded broken furniture and old paint, repackaged Christmas decorations, and sorted a huge pile of books.
It was hard for Mom, but she participated all the way. At one point she quietly said, “This process really makes you face your own mortality.” She found herself clearing away old parts of her life, and it gave her pause. But I was glad to listen as she identified photos of herself as a child and pictures of my grandparents as young adults …[Read more]