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Olivia Newport Comfort and Easy Street SignsI’m visiting at my sister’s for a couple of weeks. It’s a thousand miles from where I live on more than one level.

The agenda for the trip is to help with the complex task of settling my mother into a new living situation. Until now, she has lived independently or in her own home with the support of one of her seven children.

But my mother’s needs have changed, and family circumstances have changed, and the best thing for her safety and wellness is for her to join an assisted living community.

Maybe some of you have walked this journey with a parent or grandparent. It’s complex, and the logistics of the transition don’t leave a lot of space for processing emotions about this new stage for our family. Decisions charge relentlessly. Forms seem to multiply.  Appointments populate the calendar, and questions haunt in the middle of the night.

It’s discomforting to see your own mother at this crossroads, even if you saw it coming.

A couple of blocks from my sister’s house is the intersection of two quiet streets called “Comfort” and “Easy.” I am not making this up.

Every time I walk past that corner, I think there is nothing the least bit comfortable or easy about this.

The other day, after an afternoon of shopping for furniture appropriate to her new space, my mother said, “I’m a lot of trouble lately.”

“None of us would say that,” I answered. “Besides, you had seven kids. I’m sure we were a pile of trouble once upon a time.”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “You weren’t trouble.”

I smiled and said, “Well, I was never trouble. The rest of them might have been.”

Comfort and Easy. Would I say this is an easy time? Absolutely not. But perhaps there are yet moments of comfort in the ties that bind.

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