Friday, May 04, 2012

The day before the handover

I know that things are just - things - but I've found the process of dismantling my mother's flat and dealing with all her possessions quite emotional. So I'm posting a picture of our offspring, taken when we all met up for lunch on the way to Crieff (Son couldn't come on holiday with us because he was working nights) to cheer myself up somewhat.

It's partly that I'm sad for my mother. She was a housewife for most of her life, though she did lots of voluntary work which involved serving on committees and running meetings. But home was her base and she was a good homemaker. And this evening her home is completely bare. Mr Life and I spent all last week and some of this week dealing with her stuff, and then cleaned the whole flat thoroughly. Her oven, fridge and freezer now shine, the cupboards have all been washed out, all her paintwork is clean and her carpets vacuumed. I wish my own were quite as pristine! We hand over the keys tomorrow.

Many of her possessions were tied up with my childhood and it's all reminded me that this is long gone. And also I can't help looking round my own home and thinking... well... life's short and one day our offspring will have to clear up after us.

Though various members of the family have given homes to quite a lot of things, an awful lot has gone to auction, to charity shops, to Fresh Start and so on. I think I feel worst about the stuff that's gone to auction, because I'm sure she'll get very little for most of it. Not that she needs the money, but somehow I feel bad about the thought of her possessions on a table somewhere, being picked up and put down by strangers. The worst guilty feelings are about some of the things that belonged to my grandparents and were treasured by my beloved granny. But you can't keep everything. It's hard enough to find places for things you really like and some of them were not at all to my taste. Useful or beautiful and all that.

I keep catching myself thinking of various items, vaguely feeling that we should keep them and then remembering that they've gone.

Still, next week we won't have to do any of it again and hopefully the new people (who're expecting their first baby in August) will be starting to breathe new life into the place. They have great plans for knocking down a wall between the cloakroom and the dining room, making the dining room into the kitchen and the kitchen into a family room and so on. So soon it really won't look like my parents' flat. And we'll all calm down and find something else to get stressed about. There are various candidates for this...

And there's always singing to lift the spirits, not to say our splendid choirmaster. As in any choir I've ever been in, there are some people who keep their eyes on the music and seldom look up. He said yesterday, "If you really aren't going to look at me, perhaps you could draw a face on the top of your head so the audience has something to look at. And make it a nice smiley face, will you?"

9 comments:

K said...

Oh no, Mum. You are not allowed to get stressed about ANYTHING else after the hand-over is done!

jkhenson said...

Always feels a bit sad selling a place that has been loved. Bittersweet-knowing the next family is willing to love it, as you/family were... I'm sorry it's been such a stressful time! And, oh dear, that choirmaster is stern! :) Hugs from afar!

Stomper Girl said...

Why do we get so attached to stuff? If I mention selling the scruffy car we own, my children"s eyes fill with tears. It is funny that we invest possessions with so much emotion. When I give away loved items of clothing my kids have worn, I try to remind myself that I have photos of them wearing it so I've 'kept' them in a way. Good luck with it all.

Jennifer said...

"Stuff" is just "stuff".....although it holds many memories and associations. When do we cross the line between owning stuff, and being owned by stuff?

Lucille said...

I like your choirmaster. I wonder what he would have to say about life in general.

Jane said...

Hard, I know, but in the end it's people who really count. I have very little that belonged to my parents, but my memories are indestructible and as far as possible I've passed them on to my child and even written some down. When my sister died, my brother-in-law wrote an entire history of their time together and sent it to me (I was very small when they met and married, and when I was 18 they emigrated to Australia). I treasure it even more than the two or three items of jewelry she left me and he said it helped him to write it.

Mac n' Janet said...

How hard all that is, and you're right about the selling of family items, it almost feels better giving it away. My Mother-in-law's house had to be sold, my younger sister eventually bought our Mother's house.

libby said...

Oh Isabelle I can feel how emotional this has all been for you...and I don't like thinking that one day I will have to do the same and then another day my children etc., but you have been great and just got on with it...don't beat yourself up anymore...cherish your memories and move on.

Thimbleanna said...

Well, at least, I'm glad that it's over for you now. I can't imagine how much work it's been -- not to mention all of the emotions. I look at all my mom's stuff when I'm at her house and wonder how we'll all bear to part with it -- there's no way all the children and grandchildren could manage to keep it all. I'm sure there's probably some sorting and fitting in left to do -- I hope it goes well!