I cannot begin to articulate how difficult I still find it to go to Mum’s house, almost a year after her death, and still feel surrounded by reminders of her life, even though the house is almost completely empty. About 90% of her possessions have been shared with other family members, friends, charities etc.
Yet each time I go there, I seem to find more and more hidden surprises tucked away in nooks and crannies, a constant reminder of her life and death, and the gaping great hole in my life where my mother should be.
The last kitchen cupboard needing to be emptied contained mugs and cups. A few items were coming back to our house, some were in good enough condition to be taken to a thrift shop, some would be kept and a small number needed to be binned, but everything needed to be washed clean first, after a year of sitting unused in the kitchen.
I stood by the sink, carefully washing each piece of my mother’s treasured china with a dishcloth and soapy water, wiping, rinsing and wiping again and again until it was sparklingly clean, and realised that I was washing it as tenderly as though it were my mother’s fragile body. I cared for it because she had cared for it, and this was the last thing I could do for her, to dispose of her possessions with the same sort of care which she had expended on choosing and purchasing it in the first place……