After Cecile’s husband Henry dies, she moves in with her son to find comfort. But when she gets there, her daughter-in-law makes her pick between a nursing home and their dark and cold basement. What takes place when Cecile chooses a different path?
It’s very upsetting to lose a partner after forty years of marriage. Feeling lonely is something that happens right away, but it gets worse over time.
It hurt more than anything else for me to feel alone after my husband Henry died of a heart attack. I was too sad to do anything else but be with my family.
I have two boys, Jack and Edward. Edward moved to Oxford right after college because he was given the chance to study more. He calls me every night to talk about our days.
Jack, on the other hand, lives not far from me. He is married to Lucy and has a son whose name is after my husband.
Now that Henry bought this big house when we were just starting our family, I’m living by myself in it. I’ve been trying to decide whether to sell it, move out by myself, or live with Jack, as he offered.
I chose to move in with Jack. It would bring me the most comfort. But I had no idea that Lucy had other ideas for where I would stay.
When I moved in with Jack and his family, I asked my sister to help me pack up the old place.
So, I was at their door with my bags at my feet. I was ready to live with Lucy as her mother and grandmother and take over the kitchen whenever she needed me to.
Lucy opened the door for me with a coffee mug in her hand and told me that their house was so crowded that Henry Jr.’s room was the only one that was good for use.
She didn’t want to change anything about the room, though. It was for Henry when he got back from college for a term.
That made sense to me. I didn’t want to be a bother because it was his place. I thought Jack would have taken care of things for me, though, since he asked me to move in if I needed to.
“Cecile, we’ve got a bit of a space issue, as you can see,” Lucy echoed.
“You’ve got two options,” she continued. “There is the basement, or there’s a nursing home. Your call, grandma.”
You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Let me tell you about their basement now. There’s no room that’s been turned into a basement like you might find in some homes, so you can’t use it for crafts, games, or sewing. It’s not a den or a cozy place for guests.
Jack’s basement is more like a prison because it is cold and damp, and the bedframe sighs every time you move. The cushion has sharp springs.
I didn’t need this kind of comfort.
“Lucy,” I said, shuffling my weight from one foot to the other. “I appreciate the options, dear. But I’ll pass on the basement and nursing home combo.”
Here comes my son, trying to make peace.
He walked up behind Lucy and put his arm around her waist.
“Mom, I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking when I invited you to stay. Lucy has a point. We’re tight on space. I promise to get some furniture for the basement to make it comfortable for you.”
I didn’t want to live in a basement. I wasn’t ready for a nursing home yet. So I just did something about it myself.
I pulled my bags to the car and drove to my niece’s house. I stayed there for a week while I looked for a house to buy.
The house was already for sale, and I knew I’d have plenty of cash to buy a small apartment for myself after it was gone.
My niece helped me move in after everything was set up, and I felt strong. I might not have needed family as much as I thought I did.
Edward was worried about me being by myself, but I told him I would be okay.
Not long after, I moved into my new apartment. It was a cozy one-bedroom, just right for me and the cat I wanted to adopt. Nice thing was that it was already set up, so I didn’t have to think about anything.
Then Jack called and asked Lucy and me to have dinner together. It made me wonder what they wanted from me as I drove to their house. As we ate dinner, I told them I had moved out on my own and bought an apartment.
“I thought you were staying with Mia,” Jack said, referring to my niece.
“You can’t be serious!” Lucy both yelled at the same time.
“I did stay with Mia until I moved. I needed my own space.”
It turned Jack red when he said, “You said that you want to be around family, so I offered.”
“Yes, but if it meant being shipped off to a nursing home or having to stay in your basement, I think I’m better off alone.”
After that, I left.
After a few weeks, I got my cat.
But I also changed my will to leave everything to Edward. Even though I told them I didn’t need the money, he keeps putting it in my account every month.
“A son must help his Mom,” he said.
I said no to moving to another country with him when he asked. At least for now, I had to be close to where Henry sleeps.
I went from having problems in the basement to having my own cozy home. Life sure does throw you for a loop.
Would you have done those things if your child had given them to you?
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