I have on occasion read the Hot Property column with passing interest as to who has moved where and why.
Having worked for many years in family law firms specializing in celebrity and high-profile clients, I thought I had become indifferent to the excessive amounts of money that people will pay to buy and rent houses, with many of these transactions made on a whim or a fancy.
For the past seven years, my sister and I have been full-time caregivers to my lovely mother while she has bravely and optimistically endured one physical adversity after another--a process that has drastically altered her life and ours.
My mother has always accepted what has come her way with grace, strength and thankfulness for a life that she says has been rich and full and one she believes is still far better than that of most other people in this world.
The one thing that has gotten my mother through every hospital stay, all the misdiagnoses and every painful test and procedure has been the thought of coming home to the house she has lived in for more than 45 years.
The house is falling down and is in great need of TLC, but my mother always looks past what is wrong with the house to see all that is right. She derives such joy from watching the hummingbirds in the rose bushes, the wildflowers that spring up with the weeds, an imprint on the brick walkway left by a leaf after a rain, the silhouette on the living room wall of the orange tree branch covered with blossoms; so, so many small things that add to her life so immensely.
I can't begin to describe the sadness and frustration that comes with no longer having the physical or emotional wherewithal to continue caretaking for my mother.
Without the financial resources to hire any outside help, we are now facing the possibility of having to sell my mother's house and seek other living arrangements for her.
This is the most heartbreakingly painful thing I have ever experienced in my life.
I can no longer read the Hot Property column because I am not able to make any sense of the fact that for the same price as someone spends for one month's rent on an estate in a desirable area ($30,000 to $50,000), the same amount of money would enable us to hire the outside help needed to allow my mother to live in her house for another few years.
The point of this letter? None, really, other than to remind those people fortunate enough to be able to live in the house of their choosing for as long as they so desire to really give thought to exactly what that means and how lucky they truly are.
S. SHAND AMATO