How to talk to my parents, holiday conversations, moving into a senior home

I had the best grandmother ever. Don't even try to compare, mine was the best. And of course, I was her favorite. She might have told the others they were her favorite, but that wasn't true, I was her favorite.

My Gram loved me so much she would make me buckwheat pancakes every morning with melted butter (in a pan, not a microwave) and warm real maple syrup. She would also have milk in a chilled glass that was shaped like a hand grenade. I would eat my pancakes (both servings because there were always at least two), gulp my milk and my day would be off to a great start. I was loved.

There were many times I tried to have a conversation with my Gram about what she wanted us all to have when she passed. It was always awkward, clumsy and I never really felt like we made progress. As far as she was concerned, the important things were accounted for in her Will and the little things would work themselves out. To her the "important things" were the ones with significant financial value: investments, silver, jewelry, the "good china", things along those lines.

What I didn't know at the time and was not able to articulate to her, I know now to be one of the deepest truths in life - after someone you love passes the "important" or valuable things often aren't what bring you warm memories, connection or joy. They are nice to have, but they don't reach your heart. Not the way the small things do. What I really was trying to say during my awkward conversations is that I wanted to know for sure I would have my pancake bowl. Fortunately for me, I did get it.

Almost 20 years after my grandmother’s passing I still have my pancake bowl. I can tell you exactly where it is. My twins think it’s a silly old bowl but they know it is sacred to me and they’d better not mess with it. That silly bowl represents all of my Gram’s love in one 5” porcelain package. Just thinking about it makes my heart go to a warm place filled with love. A love that I feel so deeply if I sit still it takes my breath and fills my eyes with tears.

As Senior Move Managers we help families clean-out and settle estates on a weekly basis. So often the items our clients cling to the strongest are things an outsider would never understand – a paint by number velvet art piece, a special spoon, a milk jug and once even a stinky old pair of slippers.

So as the holidays near and visits with loved ones come, this is a perfect time ask those dear to you about their favorite memories. Find out what the pancake bowls are in your family. Some may surprise you. And if you are the keeper of a pancake bowl and creator of a beloved memory, consider writing a note about what it means to you and giving it as a Christmas gift. Trust me, it will be treasured for years to come.



Lori Fike,CSMM
Lori is the founder and owner of Chaos to Calm a local senior move management company. As a Certified Senior Move Manager, Lori and her team compassionately and expertly help older adults and their families through the process of relocating from one home to another.

This article was published in Senior Savvy magazine, click here for the full article.


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