Not wanting to be a burden to her children, Phyllis is steadfast in her daily routine of exercises, preparing her meals, and taking her medication. In many ways, Joe is the opposite. Phyllis is afraid and frustrated that Joe has given up. Her independence is what keeps her going, and Phyllis attempts to make decisions about her future while she can still care for herself in many ways.
As Phyllis and her husband, Joe, struggle with worsening health problems, their daughters Angie and Sarah have taken on the responsibilities of making many decisions for their parents. Part of the growing “Sandwich Generation,” the sisters work from two coasts to stay on top of the many doctor appointments and therapies. But, when the family is hit by the news that Joe has been diagnosed with kidney failure, Phyllis is keenly aware of the increasing caregiving work that her daughter Sarah’s family would have to take on if she and Joe remain living with them. After troubled reflection, Phyllis declares she wants to go into assisted living in Philadelphia. While resources are too limited to afford assisted living, Phyllis’ request shakes up the family. Together, they make a bold decision that Phyllis will move back to the East Coast with her daughter, Angie, with the hope of easing the burden on her youngest daughter, Sarah. But, this means leaving her husband of 62 years, Joe, 3,000 miles away in California.
While everyone else fears the impending goodbyes and becomes increasingly anxious, Phyllis approaches the inevitable with courage and practicality. “We’ve got to talk about it!” she tells them. One evening, Phyllis sits down with Jacqueline, Juli, and Angie, and brings out her jewelry, which she wishes to leave to her granddaughters. Jacqueline wonders aloud if this is her grandmother’s passing away ceremony. Unable to face that reality, Juli and Angie skirt the question as Phyllis explains that this is the time for her to give these precious things to the younger generation.