The Thinking 

Attached to Home but Unable to Live There

December 29, 2012


SARAH S. writes:

At Christmastime one sees family members and occasionally a revelation occurs. My grandmother is quite old, no longer able to drive or live alone in her own home. She will not think of selling the property that has been hers and my late grandfather’s for over 40 years. But what has puzzled the family is that she will not consider returning there with another competent family member who can cook, drive, etc. (rather than staying with her various children for a few months at a time). She says she wouldn’t want her things rearranged, which sounds a silly objection at first. But the more I consider it, the more I share her concern. As a housewife, devoted mother, and extremely serious family historian, my grandmother has poured her heart and soul into that home. Would we, her apparent heirs, not rip up the carpet, put in granite counter tops, take down some walls for an “open floorplan” and trash the musty scrapbooks without thinking twice? Who will truly appreciate the furniture she has labored to keep in pristine condition and the dishware that is specifically for summer cookouts or Easter brunch or Christmas dinners? What a blow it would be for her to see her masterpiece, her home, purged, rearranged, and “organized” in modern fashion! She has been a faithful, beautiful example of a contented homemaker. Pray for me that I would follow her example — that my home would be, in the end, my masterpiece and a tangible connection to our family’s past.

Best Regards and Happy New Year.

Laura writes:

Happy New Year to you.

I could see why it would be difficult for your dear grandmother to become a guest in her own home. It may not be entirely reasonable, but when people are very old they are often hypersensitive and unable to adjust to minor disruptions. As you say, it is obviously easier for your grandmother to get used to being in someone else’s house than to get used to someone being in hers. It ‘s a good rule to let the old follow their eccentric inclinations, as long as they are safe.
Share:Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0Share on Google+0