Since I have Mondays off of work, I called her up and asked if she wanted any help getting ready for the move. She happily obliged my offer of help. I got to her house shortly before noon, and we chatted and finished up the coffees we were both drinking. She made me lunch (grilled cheese ... totally delish!), and then we promptly got to work.
We headed to the bedroom us grandkids have always dubbed the "playroom". Really it's just a spare bedroom that housed the toys, games, and puzzles, but it was always our playroom whenever we visited Grandma and Grandpa. As soon as I walked in the room, I noticed that all 21 senior photos of her grandchildren had come down, as had a majority of the other photos that filled almost all of the west wall. There were neat stacks of games, photo frames, and other miscellanea stacked under the large picture window, and things that had long been stored away were now sitting out, waiting to be sorted.
Grandma and I grabbed a couple of chairs and got down to work pulling things from the built-in bookshelves and decided what she would keep, what she would give away to the family, and what she would toss. Everything we took off the shelf had a memory. We'd stop and laugh or tell a story we had been reminded of by whatever item we pulled: the Mad-Libs books, the Wooly Willy board, puzzle after puzzle, the vintage Fisher-Price record player ... everything had a story. Over the course of the afternoon, we only ended up getting that one shelf cleaned off and then sorted through an old file box. I guess we kept getting a little sidetracked reminiscing.
I think that's why this whole move is bittersweet for me. On one hand, I love seeing my grandma so excited for the next step in her life. She's already made friends at her new complex, and she'll be able to spend more time for her, and less time taking care of the house. On the other hand, her current home is where I've bonded with my family, where we spend almost all of our holidays, and holds some of the last memories of my grandfather. It sounds so selfish, but I don't know if I'm ready for her to move. Obviously I want nothing more than for my grandma to be happy, but it'll be hard to let this place go. I just need to keep reminding myself that as long as we have the memories, there's not much else we need.