The Delivery


The Delivery

mailbox-595854_640I stopped by my parents' apartment on Sunday to let them know I'm moving out. I had checked my calendar Sunday morning and noticed that I'm booked solid after May 11. This, of course, made me really mad. I have a lot to do and very little time to do it.

I'd love to say I delivered my news graciously, lovingly and calmly.

I was just really mad.

When I said I was moving out, my dad said, "No, you're not!" I said, "Yes, I am! And, I'll be out by May 11. You'll have to hire Kevin (the guy who shovels the driveway) and movers to move you."

My mom said, "I know you don't want to live with us but I thought we could do this temporarily."

I continued, "I'm not giving up my sleep every night wondering who's getting up, going to fall, crack their head open and bleed to death." I turned from my mom to my dad. "My suggestion is that you hire the nurse to change your bag."

"You're not going to do that?" he asked.

"I don't have time!" I shouted. "Given all I have to do in such a short amount of time, I can't do it."

"I'll do it," my mom said.

"Mom can't change your bag," I said to my dad.

"Yes I can!"

And, that was it. I left.

Although my delivery stunk, I did make the right decision. I talked out my decision with my brother immediately after my parents dropped the bomb that they are moving home, letting him know that I would be moving out. He understood my decision. I then wrote it out with all of you and talked it out with a few friends. I waited a few days to think about my decision to ensure I could live with what I decided.

I also spoke with my younger sister Sunday afternoon after delivering my news. "I have to take myself out of the equation," I said. "In January, they told me they wouldn't move home. At that time, we agreed I would move my furniture and belongings out of storage and into the house. In February, they said they want to buy a condo but won't sell the house until they buy a condo so I would be staying in the house. They keep changing their minds and it's making unnecessary work for me. Even if I stay in the house with them, I still have to move all my stuff back into storage. I have to remove myself so I'm not impacted by their changing decisions." My sister reiterated that my siblings' respect and understanding of my decision. I also sent a follow-up email to my siblings on Sunday evening to let them know about my conversation with my parents.

During my phone conversation with my brother on Friday morning, I said, "This (in their home) is where they die. And, it's going to be because of some kind of tragedy, like Mom falling and bleeding to death."

I can't prevent my parents' deaths so I worked to do the next best thing -- protect my parents' deaths so that death happens as calmly, peacefully and naturally as possible. In February, I did all I could to show my parents' the downside of any decision to leave the retirement community. I took them into the future:

  • What happens when Dad can no longer drive?

  • What will you do when Mom falls?

  • What happens when Mom can't climb the stairs?

  • Wouldn't it be nice to know one is already settled after the other dies?

  • Who is going to move you?

  • What will you do about Dad when it becomes too stressful for him to live at home?

I brought reality into their present:

  • You have enough money to last at least 10 years.

  • If I have to move, I have to move far away and won't be available to help as much.

  • Who is going to cook, clean and go grocery shopping?

  • You both are much better since you've moved here. Investing in the retirement community lifestyle is an investment in your good health. It's money well spent.

My parents' move back home does jeopardize their health. It also impacts mine. I can't do anything about their decisions which compromise their health. I can, though, make sure I make decisions that keep me healthy, my business running and my bank account positive. If I roll over to their decision -- and a decision they made for me without my input -- then I put at risk what I've worked long and hard to create.

I have to let go. My parents are working toward something different than I am. And, that's okay. It's their life, their choice.

And now I have to get over the guilt of making a decision that sometimes feels just heartless.

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Anthony Zullo

Denise\r\nI envy you that you are that strong to make such a decision. I am at a loss for words to comfort you but I am very proud of you are I think making the right decision for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and hope everything works out for the best. Remember things always seem better tomorrow. Good luck with everything.


First - good for you. What a difficult decision, and I know how hard it is to stick to one's guns. I think your father's statement of \"No you're not!\" (as if you were still a teenager living with mom and dad) and his \"You're not going to do that?\" as well as your mother's \"I thought we could do this temporarily\" (as if you are expected to be able to take care of his bag - or any other crisis - at a moment's notice) statements show how much they take for granted that Denise will be there to take care of everything. I'm so sorry they seem to have so little consideration for what you have done for them, what you are trying to do for them and also what importance your business has for you personally and for so many caregivers in need of support and advocacy.\r\n\r\nNext -guilt, oh my, it seems to be the very definition of caregiving sometimes, doesn't it? I think you have done a really good job trying to give mom and dad everything they need to make an informed decision about what is in their best interest. But as you said, it is their choice. The definition of heartless is: \"displaying a complete lack of feeling or consideration\". Anyone who has followed what you have done over the last few years to support and care for your mom and dad could never apply that word to you. Try to remember that when you are struggling with the guilties. I am so glad your siblings support you and your decision! I just hope Sibling doesn't decide to show up to lay her own guilt trip on you. Be strong Denise. Even in the face of these changing circumstances. You are on the right path. To quote the movie The Help: \"You is kind. You is smart. You is important.\"


This was a huge difficult decision and seeing how they \"dropped\" it on you, finding time for a smoother delivery seems impractical. That nagging guilt that seems to go along with caregiving... (and parents wishes in general plus add in some of that Catholic guilt) is natural... kick it to the curb the best you can. You have done such an excellent job helping your folks and you're right about needing to take care of you and what's more you deserve time for you. Here's hoping that you find a fantastic place just right for you.


That deafening racket coming from northern the sound of my applause. You weren't heartless Denise . You were breathtakingly Honest with a big-@$ capital H! They obviously needed to hear this, considering how they just automatically assumed you would still be there, same as always. So, please, don't feel badly, and don't back down.\r\nI would not be at all surprised if, upon further consideration, they change their minds altogether about this move.