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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

IN PRACTICE

When someone is no longer safe at home

A moving van pulled up to my house the other day. It contained the last of my mother’s belongings, a few pieces of furniture that neither my brothers nor I nor our children had wanted. It’s been over four years since Mom died and we finally gave up trying to sell the things down in Florida, where they’d been sitting in storage.

Among the items was a china cabinet fashioned from an antique harpsichord. It’s dark and ornate and so it wasn’t surprising that no potential buyer in the tropics pictured it fitting in amid the turquoise and wicker. It doesn’t fit in my house either — literally. I had to put it in my garage, the damn thing is so tall. But Mom loved it. The harpsichord followed her from her newlywed apartment to the house in which she and Dad raised us to their empty nester condo to her retirement place. The ungainly mass of mahogany was, no doubt, one of the reasons Mom found it so hard to leave her home, even long after it made sense to do so, long after she became forgetful and unsteady on her feet.

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