"One of the toughest challenges my husband and I faced last year was having been companions to his mother's downsizing. At the age of 91, Harriet Hauser divested herself of the creature comforts of an upper-middle class life. Anyone who has done this, or helped a loved one do it, will know saying goodbye to lots and lots of stuff is painful and exhausting for all concerned". "It occurred to me then, and has many times since, that there were/are reasons for her to want to manage seemingly small things with an iron fist. She has reluctantly said goodbye to almost every worldly treasure and, even more than a year later, that pain hasn't subsided. Controlling whatever outcomes she can is a salve for an open wound. It has also become apparent that, for her, anyway, our shopping trips are more than mere chores; they seem to validate her -- to prove she's still in this game called life: 'I shop, therefore I am'". "These days, I'm beginning to see that keeping my wants and needs in check isn't just a way to reduce carbon footprints, save the environment and avoid falling into debt. Maybe, just maybe, it's also a way of holding space for the wisdom of age, to give it room to meet me on the path that lies ahead".
Author is "a former fundraiser turned newspaper columnist and freelance writer. She lives with her family in Napanee, Ont."