Okay, this is not my “typical” post, but yesterday I got on a cleaning spree. I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have and it’s starting to make me crazy. Little by little I am trying to scale back my wardrobe and I am getting help and advice on that from Tabitha Dumas. I’m also trying to scale back the books and shoes and purses and the knick knacks that are cluttering up my life and my mind.
The clutter of unread newspapers and unread books that I picked up because “someday” I would read them were making my office not as pleasant as it should be. There were books stacked up on the floor in front of my bookcase and falling off the shelves.
Yesterday I decided to tackle the office. I have dozens of books that I won’t ever read again and would likely never have read in the first place, but I had to have them. Cleaning my bookshelf means I am cleaning next to the urn where my father’s ashes reside. Because he was such an avid reader we found an urn that looks like a set of leatherback books. While my dad is “in” my office every day, I don’t always think about him. Yesterday though because I was so close to his ashes and was looking at some of his favorite books on my shelf (those books are keepers) I got a bit teary at not having him any longer.
Those thoughts lead me to the thought that even though my mom is still living, she truly isn’t here any longer. There are times when I am having a bad day or I am sick or I just need someone to talk to and I realize that I don’t really have a mom to reach out to any longer and that got me teared up. When I go visit at the nursing home, there are days when she is as loving and funny as she always was. Other days she is cold and angry and no matter what I say she just remains angry and is not the mom I relied upon for comfort. Those visits lead me down the path of “did she ever really love me as much a I thought or did I make my life and childhood rosier than it ever was?” I get angry at her for the times when I visit and she doesn’t appreciate that I am there. I get angry at me for my frustration. I get guilty because of the anger and frustration I feel.
I write a lot of articles for a site that provides home medical emergency devices so in the back of my mind I know that caregivers deal with this regularly. That knowledge, though, doesn’t make it any easier.
In my cleaning spree last night though I came across a blue plastic zippered envelope on the bottom of my bookshelf and assumed it was something that I’d purchased and forgotten about. Before I tossed it in the trash I opened it to see what it contained.
The blue envelope was full of all of my information from when I was born until I graduated high school. My mother kept a book with my school photo for every year, every single invoice from doctor’s visits, my diploma, newspaper clippings from when I’d made the honor roll, a mother’s day card I had made for her and much more. I can’t even put to words the emotions that bubbled up when I pawed through the contents of the envelope. When I visit mom this weekend I am going to take it along and thank her for all that she did and for having saved all of my information. This is something I hope that my kids will want to take possession of when I am no longer here.
Finding that envelope made me think of the books and report cards and photos of my kids that I saved and have in a trunk. I want to pass along memories to my children so that if I ever get to the point where I don’t really remember them and am unable to or incapable of showing them how much I love them that they will see the photos and all the memories I saved for them and then they will never, ever doubt that they were my heart and my life.