The passing of time is quick, but the loss remains. Grieving and releasing a loved one.
|One Year Anniversary
It still feels like yesterday. My dad is perking up a little, and his appetite has been back for several months. The family still jokes about her faults, and we remember her dedication to her family with pride. Dad still thinks she was pretty and wonders what she ever saw in him. He regrets that he couldn’t make her life a little easier, a little nicer.
One source of contention between us is that Dad and my three brothers want to get rid of a lot of “stuff” that I want to keep. It’s the male-female point of view. Mom taught me to love and want the things she wanted. They could care less. I understand that Dad wants to get reminders out of view, and he’s also thinking of streamlining in case he goes to a nursing home or passes away, leaving us with a lot of work. But I want to hold on to the things that my Mom treasured; it’s like letting go of her.
For instance, they want to get rid of any cookware or cookbooks that aren’t used at least once a week. Now most women will tell you, there are special occasions that may require special pans or recipes only a few times a year. Or serving trays, dip sets, and so forth. What if I move in and want to have a church group over? Or Tupperware! If you don’t have a duplicate, never get rid of Tupperware.
And they want to get rid of any books. Horrors! Mom was an avid reader. Every room in the house is filled with bookcases except for the small hallways, the bathrooms and the kitchen. Even the foyer has a bookshelf with over 100 books. The living room has a shelf dedicated to John Grisham, many of his books autographed, in the order they were written. Another shelf is for Jan Karon, and some of those are autographed. One of them was a gift from her.
I’m more like Mom than anyone else, although everyone in the family reads a lot. My ideal home, like Mom’s, is one with a huge library. To be surrounded by books would be a divine thing. I gave in to them and boxed up 3 cartons of paperback romances. I don’t like them. Mom and I had hidden them behind the hardbacks on the deeper shelves to get them out of sight. Only I knew this, so I wouldn’t tell them where I found them. But I thought it might appease them. I labeled the boxes “yard sale”.
I’ve set aside boxes of clothes and knickknacks for the yard sale. But Dad carries everything to charity when he sees it, so by the time we collect ourselves and come together for a yard sale, most things will be gone. If I could take off a few weeks and be there to work on it everyday, I might be able to help him sort through things or even learn to let them go. I cleaned up all her craft and sewing things and told him that if I live long enough to retire, I’ll need them to keep busy.
We manage to muddle on. I keep catching myself thinking that I’m going to tell her about something, or show her a new pair of sandals. When I’m sick, I want to call her for sympathy. It’s been a year and I still have not adjusted to her absence from my life. Sometimes Dad gets a little teary eyed. I’ve noticed none of us try to cheer him up or change the subject. We just listen, concerned for him, but we let him have his feelings. Sometimes I remind him how much Mom loved him and depended on him, that he was always there for her and her children. That doesn’t stop his emotions, but gives him something positive.
When you love someone, you never get “over” her (him). You just adapt to the daily grind and the hurt you carry inside. My mom will always be a part of our family and will never be far from us. She'll never be far from me.