When it Might Be More Than Just Downsizing

A rare message popped up from my brother to a family group; ‘Seriously downsizing in next ~2 years, do you want any of this stuff?’
We are a family that for generations has put value on old family things- furniture, books, tools- so I get this impulse to ask the family before selling or donating or trashing. But why is my brother doing this, why now? Alarm bells start in my head. Instead of replying to the group I get back to him individually and say, ‘sorting and downsizing is always good, but are you doing it for a specific reason?’
You see, we are in our 60’s, which isn’t old but is a period of change and adjustment. And my “little” bother has Parkinson’s disease. Since I don’t see him often, especially the past covid years, I never know for sure how his disease is manifesting, is progressing. Suddenly I’m scared.
We end up having a nice long, real phone conversation. He has a five year plan. (Typical.) In two years he and my sister-in-law will tear down their home to build it back as a family home for their beloved niece and her husband and kids, with an in-law suite or wing for my brother and sister-in-law. This niece’s family already moved to live around the corner and their lives have been increasingly, lovingly intertwined. Never having had children themselves, my brother and sister-in-law have embraced his young family and been enriched by their presence. My brother (who retired early- part of a prior long-term plan) picks up from school, babysits, and makes foam weaponry, teaches ninja lessons, and most recently created a climbing wall on the side of his house.
So I am relieved by the reason, the plan, and yes- downsizing is always good. But still it gives me pause when I see the exercise bike go, the rowing machine, some tools.
I need to see this guy; my active, enthusiastic, creative and inventive younger brother that I love.
I need to see how he really is doing.

Antique rowing machines- another passion of my brother, now on the give-away list.

5 thoughts on “When it Might Be More Than Just Downsizing

  1. I hear you! My twin sister and I always debrief after conversing with our other siblings and their kids. It helps us read between the lines to see if there is anything that people aren;t really saying.

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  2. Your brother has a beautiful plan for the future! He sounds very wise. What a dear sib you are, to catch up by phone and get the details. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry about your little brother’s diagnosis. A plan for making sure that our treasures hit the right targets is fulfilling! Many hugs as you move forward!

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  4. It’s hard but I appreciate the idea of a plan that the individual controls in their lifetime rather than the work that comes after losing a loved one. Neither are “easy” but one seems more manageable!

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  5. I feel this in so many ways. I’ve watched several family members prepare themselves for next stages of life, and while it’s hard for me to acknowledge that’s what’s happening, it’s also comforting for me to know that things will be taken care of. And…yes. You’re probably right in your hunch to check in again with the brother to find out how he’s doing…really doing.

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