Please welcome a guest blogger today: my NASMM colleague, Jennifer Pickett:
It’s so much more than just a move . . .
About two weeks ago I had the unique opportunity to accompany one of NASMM’s original members, Moving Forward, Inc., on a move. Moving Forward, Inc. is owned by Tim and LouAnne Audette. Located in the Detroit suburbs, Moving Forward, Inc. is one of NASMM’s Founding Member companies.
I met LouAnne and her staff of three at their client’s home – a sprawling, 3300 square foot ranch in a leafy Detroit suburb. The couple has lived in the home for 33 years, and raised three children there. The gentleman was quite successful in the insurance business, and is now dealing with the aftermath of two hip replacements and a broken femur. His lovely wife, a retired school principal with her doctorate in education, now suffers from the early affects of Alzheimer’s.
The first thing that struck me about this move – what I guess I didn’t expect – was the unique and intimate view I had into this couple’s life. As I helped take down paintings, photos, and pieces of art, I was amazed to see how accomplished this couple was. Throughout their home, they featured numerous recognition plaques and framed newspaper articles about the entire family.
While the packers were packing, I learned our clients were avid poker players, that she was a master cook and loved to garden – roses, specifically. (Although she was having trouble remembering the names of the many rose bushes decorating her garden, she confided how much she will miss them all.) I discovered he was very active in the community, serving in a number of elected positions. They loved to entertain guests and enjoy a full life in their home.
I could tell our couple is still were very much in love – by his calming reassurance when she starts to get overwhelmed, and her need to keep his coffee cup full and to make sure he has lunch. I could tell the size of the house and the amount of belongings they had were taking a toll on them. While they welcomed the idea of the move, the process was more than they had anticipated. They were somewhat embarrassed about the amount of treasures they had collected over three decades in their home.
As I observed the move process over two days, what amazed me the most (outside of the fact their new two-bedroom apartment was completely put together and looked absolutely fantastic) was how LouAnne, Tim and their staff worked to keep this couple engaged, safe and calm throughout the move. LouAnne’s and Tim’s communication strategies, ability to re-direct, creative problem-solving, attention to safety and privacy, and their seemingly unflappable demeanor – all while supervising a staff of professional movers, and completely downsizing and resettling this couple – was simply astounding.
At the end of the day, I clearly sensed our couple’s relief, as well as their gratitude for the gentle hands that did so much to help them through this life-changing transition.
For all involved, this day was so very much more than a move.