I’m sitting here this morning in the big sunny den where I spent so many countless days, months and years with my mother when I was taking care of her as she declined with steadily worsening dementia.
This coming January will mark two years since she passed away, and it still seems unreal to me. But it’s amazing how the sweet and tender recollections of Mom on this sofa during the countless days she spent looking at trees in her garden, reading her Bible devotions, gazing at bouquets of cut flowers which she dearly loved, and the pleasure she took in her porcelains and antiques, have completely taken up residence in my own storehouse of memories. I can easily return to them as long as I’m living in this house.
She was such a remarkable and loving person. Her spirit resides here, and in me, during in these waning days of 2021. All the bad memories of her terrible struggles with dementia and diabetes have dissipated into almost nothing, except when they occasionally come back to me in flashbacks.
But soon the afternoons spent savoring quiet music and the murmuring of my little Zen fountain, wrapped in golden sunlight streaming into this big and beautiful room full of life’s most poignant memories, will be coming to an end as I finalize packing for the momentous move to an apartment 10 minutes, but light years, away from this pleasant homestead in the midst of an old historic neighborhood.
Quite simply, I can no longer manage the expenses and considerable upkeep on this house. I am a man of very modest financial resources. The cold reality of my situation is indisputable, but that only makes the need to part with the family home that much more wrenching emotionally.
The proverbial clock on the mantlepiece tick-tocks away. Time is becoming utterly meaningless in this transition. I am more frequently sitting on my well-worn rocking chair on the porch at all hours of the day and night, listening to birds, the soft tinkling of wind chimes, and the branches of our tall crape myrtle trees swaying in brisk breezes such as last night at 2 am as a cold front moved through. Despite an almost complete loss of smell, the other day I detected the very faint and sweet fragrance of the last of the ginger lilies blooming in the garden. Also, Mom loved African violets, and fittingly enough as I prepare to leave this sanctuary of 25 years, one of them has gifted me with two rare, pastel purple blooms. Amazing because most of the year it doesn’t bloom despite its perch in a sunny spot on the kitchen window sill.
So it won’t be long before all my hundreds of books, boxes of memorabilia, and knick-knacks acquired over the years are situated in a new home. A new beginning. Sad, but hopeful.
We recently had extensive work done clearing out undergrowth and sprucing up our garden, and it looks much more like these photos taken many years ago:
Last updated October 17, 2021