Clearing out parents' house with widowed Dad.
My mom died last July, and my sister and I moved rather quickly to get my dad out of the apartment that was their primary home and moved into independent living close to where we live. The whole process seemed abrupt, traumatizing, and inhumane to my dad, who had lived in that apartment, with my mom, for 40 years and had to leave behind everything he knew. I know the move may have been necessary for his health, but I feel terrible about how disempowered and lost he felt about it.
Now my fiance and I are preparing to accompany my dad to clean out the country home in which he and my mom spent many happy summers. It is a 10-hour drive from where we live, and I am dreading the sadness of being in that house without my mom. The house is now sitting vacant and uncared for, and for many reasons it would be wise to get it cleared out and on the market quickly.
The problem is that my dad is not on board with doing this efficiently...he has suggested that we go to the house a few times to complete the process. When I tell him my fiance and I may not be able to make another trip, he says he'll drive there himself...my dad has not driven since his stroke shortly before my mom died, and this is a bad idea.
I'm beginning to think we'll just have to make time for more trips, as I can't bear to traumatize my dad again by forcing him to let go too fast. But I can't take the emotional devastation of going there too many more times....so I am at a loss.
The other problem is that my dad has become more and more compulsive about holding on to objects, and accumulating new objects. While my mom was endlessly generous, especially with her kids, my dad is almost pathologically cheap...especially with us. So I also dread the prospect of going through the house, finding items that my fiance or I might want to keep, and having my dad tell us to leave everything "because he might want to use it next time."
I love my dad but am really stressed out about this upcoming trip. The other stressor is that my sister, who is the executor of my parents' estate, hates the country house and just wants to get rid of it as quickly as possible. How to find a balance among all these competing emotions?