My first year of retirement has been overshadowed by preparing for my Mum to come and live with us. It has involved sorting out a lot of stuff:
Clearing stuff from the room for her
Clearing stuff from 2 cupboards that were converted into a downstairs bathroom for her
Clearing stuff from Mum’s house: some to make her room ‘home’ for her with familiar objects that she valued; the rest in preparation for selling the house.
So much stuff to sort!
Alongside this, to preserve my sanity, I was catching up on a lot of reading, I started this blog, and followed lots of other blogs. In particular, I followed blogs on de-cluttering and dealing with procrastination – the two seem to go together.
I have great admiration for my patients who were able to use the skills I was teaching. It’s a big ask to change the habits of a lifetime. So often I’d think, ‘physician heal thyself’ – I don’t practice what I preach. [see here for a post on this: https://delemares.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/physician-heal-thyself-treasure-in-jars-of-clay-soul-fast-update-1/ ] Why can’t I set about de-cluttering mindfully and just do it? As one of our psychologists said to a patient, ‘maybe things aren’t bad enough yet’. Ouch!!! – do things have to get a lot worse before I really start sorting things out?
Aside from the physical stuff, there was all the emotional stuff. Clearing Mum’s house made me realise how similar I am to her – I had to keep reminding myself that ‘I am not my Mum’. Whilst this was going on, Mum was being looked after in a lovely care home near me. (Mum’s house is some distance from mine, so to get much done I have to stay overnight).
Eventually, Mum did come to live with us, but only for a few weeks – she had yet another fall, went into hospital and then declined quite rapidly and died last November.
The past 18 months or so have been quite an emotional roller-coaster. Feelings of guilt – could/should I have done more? Feelings of frustration with myself – I still find it stressful sorting clutter, which leads to procrastination. All mingled with feelings of joy and thankfulness. Thankfulness for the values Mum has taught me: valuing friendships (Mum kept in touch with people from her early days, old school friends and people she had worked with before marriage – people from all stages of her life were able to attend her funeral which I am sure she would have appreciated.)
Sadly, Mum often said that her happiest days were when she served in the Women’s Land Army during WW2 – was there nothing good about the 60+ years since then?
And yet… in her latter days she responded with interest when she saw her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The latest addition, my first granddaughter, she called ‘my little pumpkin’ – odd because Mum was not a ‘baby-person’, often saying it wouldn’t have bothered her not to have had children: she was quite happy with her dogs! Maybe that was yet another sign of the dementia that had been developing over the past 2-3 years.
I hope the above goes some way to explaining why I’ve not been very active on this blog in recent months. Thank you to those who have kept faith with me and continued to keep in touch.
Please share any thoughts on bereavement, de-cluttering and/or procrastination.