wings and things

Spring cleaning

on November 22, 2016

In the nearly 24 years that Anthony and I have been married, many friends and family have commented that coming into this house is like stepping into a time warp. As a newlywed, married to an older man whose mother I had cared for, I didn’t feel the need to alter anything because I already loved it here.

I don’t love it here anymore.

Well that’s what I thought the other day and the thought itself took me by surprise.Then it took me many more days to get that thought comfortable in its own words. But uttering those words took courage.

“I don’t love it here anymore, Ming.”

“Nobody comes here anymore, Mum.”

“That’s because Anthony isn’t here, Ming.”

“But WE are here, Mum!”

And so we have begun the process of spring cleaning the corners of the house that Anthony will never see again, except in his memory.

Why don’t I bring Anthony home? Because he is mostly immobile. Because it might break his heart to come home and then have to go back. Because it would confuse him terribly. Because he thinks his mother is still here. Because of ablutionary issues. Because, despite having lost so much weight, he is too heavy. Because I don’t want my already-cracked heart to shatter. Because I love Ming….

This crisis of conscious has catapulted us into re-seeing this little old house as ours or, as Ming put it, “YOURS, Mum!”

I don’t quite know why taking all of those dusty books out of the dusty book case did me in because we organised them into categories: antiques, donations, rubbish. Perhaps it was the delicate scrawly signature of my husband’s 5-year-old self inside an otherwise empty school diary dated 1941.

And then I began to cry.

“I don’t love it here anymore, Ming.”

“You will, Mum.”

Spring cleaning is not for the faint-hearted!

10 responses to “Spring cleaning

  1. its sad Julie but starting the sorting now will help with the transition that will inevitably come. You have to look at making the house as you want it or to consider the possibility of moving. Harsh but reality. Take care of yourself and don’t be hard on yourself either.

  2. susanpoozan says:

    As always, you are so brave but with such support from your son.

  3. ksbeth says:

    yes, that is a very difficult process, for many reasons. your feelings reflect the change in life on many levels, and reminder that nothing is static. it is important to find a comfort level where you are and not dwell only in the past, but what is the now and what will be the future. i think it was smart of you to do this, to make it a place you love to be once again – hugs

  4. Ahhhh Julie. My heart cracked while reading this. I hope your heart takes comfort in knowing Anthony would want for you to be comfortable and happy and at peace in your home. The building isn’t what makes it so special, it’s the love lived there that does. I hope the changes you make, just increase that value. ❤ I know it will. (And thank goodness for Ming!!!)

  5. Judy says:

    Sometimes, clearing the clutter – clears our mind. But nothing could ever clear away the memories and love you feel.
    It is wise to prepare for what is ahead, but it is exhausting. Thinking of you, Julie, with love.

  6. This made sad, I hope in time you can come to love it there again

  7. tootlepedal says:

    I hope that Ming is right.

  8. I would suppose that because Anthony isn’t there in the home… is the major reason you ‘don’t like it anymore’… Maybe though it will somehow become yours’ despite him not being there.. I hope so Julie. Diane

  9. Vicki says:

    Not for the faint-hearted perhaps, but enormously liberating all the same.

    I think it was my Mother’s passing in early 2012 and just going through her clothes that showed me how people hoard and retain memories. It was a massive job (for me). Having to quit work in Feb 2010 really started ‘the ball rolling’. Papers, books and heeled shoes which I could no longer use or wear were the first things to re-home (or shred).

    And Re-home it is. I was able to reduce material possessions by using the thought process of what my family would need to do with my own passing. Did I want my brothers/nephew/neices to read some very personal diaries? Would my family want ‘xyz’? I now have only 3 pairs of shoes and one pair of sandals. With old ankle/foot injuries I NEVER wear heeled shoes (for example).

    Your home is your Home, Julie, and you mustn’t feel guilty for ensuring it now meets your needs (and Mings) whereas years ago, it was for three. Pass on to family/friends/charities all those things that aren’t used and are to be passed on later.

    It will be painful, but it will also lighten your heart and home (when the task is done). There will be tears. There will be heartache. But there will also be a sense of moving on and acceptance.

    I sincerely believe it will be easier to do now (when you have the mindset and time), than Later (when the task will be too painful to contemplate).

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