Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Endings

Only one more teaching day this term, plus one day of justifying our existence by having meetings. Then freedom! Freedom from reminding people how to use the full stop, comma, colon, semi-colon, apostrophe..., from photocopying (oh! the trees I have exploited in the course of the last few decades), from rushing from classroom to classroom, from always planning ahead, from filling in forms and answering emails.

Mind you, there are a few things to curtail this freedom. For example, my mother, 89 next month, has at last made the decision to move out of her flat, which is now on the market. She's finding this - understandably - very stressful. She keeps saying that she can't cope and that it's all too much. Above, you see her sitting room. Her flat is the bottom part of a large Victorian house, plus what was originally the staff quarters - a kitchen and various offices built out from the main house at the back, with two bedrooms up above. Britain had to fill in census forms last week, and this involved counting the rooms. She has ten, not including bathrooms - some quite large, as you see. This is too many for one old lady. In these rooms, she has a lot of furniture. And all the rooms have cupboards with 89 years' worth of things in them. Not that she's a hoarder, particularly. But she's done a lot of things in her life. And someone - and it won't be her - will have to clear all this out. She'll have some difficult decisions to make.

She's going to move in with us, which will be a huge change for her. (Not to say for Mr Life, who is a saint.)

It's taught me a serious lesson, though. By the time we're 80, and not a second after, Mr Life and I will be in a retirement flat. We'll have minimised our possessions (though I'm not a minimalist by nature) and someone else will be looking after the roof and the gutters and the garden; and there will be a warden to call on us every morning to check for signs of life.

To be honest, this idea has a certain appeal even now. I wonder if cats are allowed in retirement flats. (Would that make them flat cats?)

16 comments:

ChrisB said...

Wow, your mother's sitting room is so beautiful! I guess 10 rooms is a lot for an elderly lady tho!! I can understand how daunting it must be to have to get rid of most of the possessions you have collected over a life-time, bless her... We have just been emptying our loft space and that was bad enough!! I wish you lots of luck with the task!!x

Fire Bird said...

I'm having the paragraph problem too - if you go into 'edit html' you can get paragraphs and publish post from there...

Shannon said...

My parents are in their 60s. They are in poor health. I do a lot of thinking now about the next few years and what is going to happen with them. I have always vowed to do things differently than my parents. My mom is a terrible hoarder and my dad does nothing. I'm not looking forward to the future.

Isabelle said...

Oh yes! Thank you, Firebird.

Jane said...

Good luck with the sorting out - we found it very difficult with husband's mother even though she'd already got rid of loads of things - though your mother probably won't want to bring a box full of cocktail sticks and an old toaster!

Stomper Girl said...

Your mother's flat looks wonderful, and much more spacious than I'd expect from the words "flat". Good luck with all the sorting and moving and selling.

Lucy said...

I feel the same way too, following my mother's decline and all the consequent sorting and decisions and sadness. I fear it's something we all say but I wonder how easy it is? I think trying to develop a state of mind where we try not to cling (to things, at least...) might help.

libby said...

I agree with your resolve Isabelle. Prepare to get rid of all the clutter (this coming from me .. a hoarder of the highest nature)that your mother has and perhaps your own. The flat is beautiful. Were you a child there?

Thimbleanna said...

Oh gosh Isabelle. Like you and so many others, we'll be going through this soon and I find it so terribly sad. Your mother's place is beautiful and TheManoftheHouse and I treasure the evening we had there. Based on that short moment, I can only imagine the history and stories tucked away with your mother's treasures. Please give your Mum a hug for me. And a big one for you too -- such big changes in your life this year -- Yay for the happy ones to help with the sad ones.

persiflage said...

Such changes are far from easy, and sorting and discarding things are very time-consuming. It is a sad process, and easier done in stages - but to do it this way is not always possible. I keep thinking about what else I can discard, but it really needs to be done gradually, if this is at all possible. Your mother will feel very safe and comfortable with you.
I applaud your efforts to educate your students about writing and punctuation. I hope you can hear me clapping from far far away.

Fairlie said...

10 rooms does sound like a lot for a lady of her age to manage. But what a wonderful sitting room!

All the best of the sorting and moving process. I know it can be a particularly stressful time for everyone involved.

PS - if you have a chance, could you please email me (email address is linked to my profile) as I don't seem to have an email for you that I can send you a personal message. Thanks!

VioletSky said...

I have been there with my parents. It was very difficult persuading her to get rid of many things. She moved into a small flat in a retirement home and I had trouble persuading her that 10 towels was more than sufficient.
I also resolved to get myself organized... that was 4 years ago. I am still resolved. Good Luck.

Christine Thresh said...

What a beautiful sitting room.

Marcheline said...

Good luck to your mom and to you with all your new living arrangements. I hope the transition goes smoothly. It might help to go through and pick out some small favorite things of your mom's for her to keep in her room at your house - to give her a feeling of home, you know? Hugs!

Gina E. said...

I wish you and your family luck with the year ahead. Being first time grandparents at the same time you are clearing out your mother's home is going to keep you VERY busy.Thank you again for your sympathetic comments on my blog. {{hugs}}

Loth said...

That is indeed a beautiful room - your mother has been very fortunate to live in such wonderful surroundings. But now, of course, she is going to have the benefit of your own beautiful house and a pretty garden to boot. Good luck with the clearout (if you need a hand, give me a shout!)