Northeast November My Turn
A Moving Decision
A retired minister and his wife decide it’s time for a change.
Sometimes the toughest decision you ever have to make turns out to be the best one.
That is certainly true for Ron and Cathie Dietrich. Two years ago, they decided to leave North Carolina –– where they lived happily for 20 years –– and head to Ohio and Wesleyan Meadows, an independent-living community in Sheffield Village designed for residents age 55 and over, that’s part of Wesleyan Senior Living’s continuum of care.
“We’re thrilled to get back to snow and cold weather,” says Ron, reminiscing about the winters in western Pennsylvania, where he and Cathie were born and raised. And the couple relish the time they can now spend with their daughter, Laurie, son-in-law, Jim, and grandchildren, Anna, 12, Sam, 8, and Franny, 6, who reside in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood.
The process of relocating is nothing new to the Dietrichs. Ron, 69, a retired United Methodist pastor, has been called to serve in five states, which resulted in 21 moves throughout the couple’s 47-year marriage.
But this one was different: The couple’s oldest daughter, Wendy, son-in-law Mike and 10-year-old grandson, Liam, lived just a mile down the road in Mocksville, North Carolina. So the decision, says Ron, involved more than just a little soul-searching: Making the move meant leaving one beloved branch of the family behind.
“We shared eight years of Liam’s life,” he explains, “but saw our other daughter and her family only on holidays. We decided it was time to live close to them for a few years.”
Needless to say, admits Cathie, 66, Wendy wasn’t happy about her parents’ decision to move to a state that’s nine hours away by car.
“She couldn’t even bring herself to talk to us about it,” Cathie says. “It was a gut-wrenching time for Wendy.
Although our daughter is an adult, we understood she was hurting as a child would. We felt her pain and prayed about it.”
It was Cathie’s 91-year-old mom, who lives in a continuing-care community in upstate New York, who reassured the couple that they were making the right decision.
“She said, ‘I think you’re smart,’” Cathie recalls. “Mother told us that it was much better making this kind of a move when you’re younger and can truly enjoy the benefits.”
The Dietrichs planned to purchase a small condo near Laurie and her family. But upon visiting Wesleyan Meadows, they immediately felt right at home.
“It’s a pleasure to be among people who are at a similar stage in life, and have a wide variety of experiences,” Ron says. “We’re also grateful for the assurance of continual care no matter how our health needs change.”
Additionally, the couple,
who enjoy traveling the country, are appreciative of the peace of mind and carefree lifestyle that Wesleyan Meadows offers.
“They shovel our snow, cut our grass and look after our home when we’re away,” Ron says. “In other words, they do everything so we’re absolutely free to do whatever we want to do.”
And downsizing was a breeze, thanks to the two-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style home –– with den, dining room and sunroom –– the Dietrichs chose.
“We actually have,” Ron says, “more room here than we did in our former house.”
Although Wendy misses them terribly, she has accepted her parents’
decision. The entire family vacationed in North Carolina this summer, and Wendy and Liam visited Wesleyan Meadows several months ago. To make the transition easier for their daughter, the Dietrichs entrusted their 2-year-old golden retriever, Sadie, to Wendy’s care –– which, Cathie says, means a part of them is always with her.
Cathie offers this advice to people contemplating a major move, especially
when it involves leaving loved ones who have always been nearby: “Make it a point to assure family you’ll stay in touch and always, always keep the lines of communication open.”