Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Fifth Monthiversary

Funny how you can blink
and soon it's been five months since your mother died...

Five months since you last got to talk to her...

Five months since she responded to your voice...

Five months since she last held your hand and
asked you not to leave her side while she slept
so that when she woke up she would see you
and be reassured.

Five months without her...

Five months of slowly getting rid of her possessions
and feeling guilty every time you do
because you wonder if she would agree with what you decide
to do with her clothes...
her shoes...
her purses...
her this or that or the other...

Five months still valuing her opinion
on everything from the bank account
to renting her home
to where we should take our next trip
and where should we think about moving
if we move
when we move
dare we move?

Five months of not hearing if she likes
my new writing
my new outfit
my new painting

I went to her for just about everything
and now it's been five months of trying to figure it out
for myself...
will Momma approve...?
is Momma proud...?
what else does Momma expect of me...?

Five months...
she missed this year's County Fair
and getting her traditional corn
and watching the horse races
and seeing all the farm animals
and stopping for an ice cream
before heading home...

It wasn't the same without her, 
and I thought about her the whole time
and how I wish she were there with me
and how unfair it all seemed...
and how unfair it still is...
Five months later

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Her Smell is Still All Around

Today is housekeeper day, and I took advantage of it to make the bold move of going through Momma's clothing and shoes to decide what can be given away and donated, what I'll keep, and what needs to be tossed.  I know I had told the housekeeper previously (like almost 3 months ago) that I was going to do this, but today I finally decided it was the day. 

I haven't been in Momma's room much.  Occasionally I have to dig through some paperwork, or find something else that we stored in there, but really, I'm not in there much.  It still has her smell.  It's mostly faint traces of the perfume by Estee Lauder that she always wore - Beautiful.  Also, I smelled so many of the clothes to judge how musty or clean they were and there was her scent again, even stronger. 

And tissues, so so many tissues and packets of tissues;  in coat pockets, sweater pockets, purses, etc.  Glad to have them around as I got a little misty throughout the morning as yet this or the other memory was triggered.  Or, as I pulled out another piece of clothing and thought I had to ask her about it then remembering suddenly that she wasn't there.  Funny how the mind can fool you that way.

Digging through her purses, I found this:

It's the handkerchief I had made for the day of my wedding.  I found it in the purse that she carried to my wedding.  She'd worn a sea foam dress, and that's the dress that she was buried in.

 Digging through a few more bags I found this:

She always like fun cute makeup bags, and I gave her several over the years.  I think this one was from this last Christmas in anticipation of our next cruise which she never made it to.  

Another thing I bought for her were scarves and wraps along with hats and gloves.  As she got older, and her circulation worsened, she was always cold.  So she needed to wear warm things.  Which leads us to this:

It's a fun dyed scarf that she bought on our last trip to Alaska.  Momma didn't wear it often saying it was actually "too warm" and made her neck sweat.  But she would wear it, and the streaks of blue and purple dyed into it perfectly matched her long purple coat.

Oh, so many coats, and sweaters, and sweatshirts.  It was like taking a trip down memory lane of our travels as I folded sweatshirts and T-shirts from New Zealand, and Costa Rica, and Hawaii, and Walt Disney World, and and and... 

Like this one:

Believe it or not, this sweatshirt is 29 years old, and was one of Momma's favorite sweatshirts.  She got it on our first trip to Australia in 1990.  She would wear it as an "around the house" shirt.  No matter how many washings it's been through, it hasn't frayed or gotten any holes.  I'm keeping it along with a number of the newer sweatshirts and shirts.  In the rainy and cool environment which I call home, there's always a need for a sweatshirt, especially hoodies.

Pulling clothes out of drawers and the closet wasn't too bad.  Those had been left at the house during her hospitalization and subsequent rehab, then her stint at the board and care.  It was sadder to pull the clothes out of the suitcase that had been with her at the board and care.  All of the sweatpants and yoga pants I had bought that were easy to pull over her knee immobilizer.  The long-sleeved shirts that she liked to wear to dialysis.  A ton of new nightgowns.

Then I came to this:

These were the clothes she was wearing on April 1 of this year when she went to the hospital for the last time.  When she left her room at the board and care for the last time.  Actually the last clothes and shoes she ever wore because it was hospital gowns then nightgowns for the last days of her life.  Well, unless you count that dress she wore at her funeral... or the "travel clothes" I took to the mortuary for the trip from NorCal to SoCal:  her favorite hummingbird shirt along with some stretch pants. 

For now, all of her clothes are in piles.  Now, what do do with all these shoes?  How Momma loved her shoes.  I guess when you grow up poor and never get to have nice shoes, when you finally have the means you get whatever strikes your fancy, and as she got older, there was no reason for her to not be spoiled just a little bit.  Like the boots on the left.  I had actually bought those for myself, but when she saw them she immediately said, "Oh, they're perfect.  Just the kind of boots I wanted."  

That was Momma.  I hope they have a wide selection of shoes in Heaven.  She never did like to walk around barefoot.

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