Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Moving Day

As told to Miriam Klein Adelman

Mom refused to budge. “Behind my back you did this! I’m not a piece of garbage, you know.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

 Mishpacha image

“It’s like when the Nazis evicted us from Lodz,” she stormed. “Who would have thought my own children would do this to me?”

For three months we’d planned this move, ever since my brother Daniel walked into Mom’s apartment one afternoon to be greeted by the sulfur smell of burned eggs. He ran into the kitchen. “Ma, you left a pot on the fire and the water burned out!” The eggs had exploded. Yellow marks spotted the ceiling.

 “Oh,” she had said glancing upward. “I guess I forgot.”

It wasn’t the first time Mom had put herself in danger. Daniel called me. “That’s it,” he said, “Mom cannot live alone.”

We carefully broached the subject of moving into a place where the cooking was done for you and help was available 24/7. Mom vacillated, one day saying yes, great idea, the next day refusing to discuss it. She had no choice, we knew, so we set the date for the week after Succos. Before Yom Tov, Daniel called and said, “She’s into it. She’s ready.”

I flew in fromNew Yorkand met Daniel at the airport. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived she was not ready. While I kept her occupied in the kitchen, ostensibly arguing over whether she should move today or in two weeks, Daniel surreptitiously stripped her apartment of her belongings.

When Mom realized it was a fait accompli, she started berating Daniel. “After all I’ve done for him, he treats me like this!” (For the record, despite his busy life, Daniel visited daily and cooked and cleaned for her.) “It’s like when the Nazis evicted us fromLodz,” she stormed. “Who would have thought my own children would do this to me?”

“Mom, it’s a nice place. You told us it was getting difficult to live on your own.”

“Yes,” she admitted, “but I’m not ready yet. I need two weeks. I’ve spoken to other people who’ve done this. I need movers, I need hangers.”

All the while, Daniel was stealthily moving her bed out of the bedroom.


I wasn’t shocked by her reaction. Mom is a crotchety old lady and difficult to get along with at the best of times. The assisted-living facility social worker was diplomatic. Many Holocaust survivors are tough, she explained, they had to be, to survive. Add the beginnings of dementia, and the situation can turn volatile. Daniel maintains he’s developed thick skin. I’m glad I live 500 miles away. Our once-a-week phone conversations last for a scant five minutes, then I hand the phone over to my children. (I find she’s less likely to antagonize when talking to them.)

After a few hours of transferring her furniture, it was time to take Mom to the facility. But Mom refused to budge.

“Behind my back you did this! I’m not a piece of garbage, you know.” 

Related Stories

Train Tracks to Freedom

Riki Goldstein

Frankfurt. London. Letchworth. Mrs. Eva Fachler’s life straddles hundreds of miles and the destructi...


Faigy Schonfeld

I know that it’s not just the freedom from anguish and hardship that we yearn for, but something so ...

Whispers: Chapter 4

Shira Hart

As a teen, I was actually allowed to see the x-ray and hear the doctor’s diagnosis: the whitish-gray...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"