Letting go

My dears, this is a sequel to my post about my mother’s move to the care home. She’s doing well, by the way, and much perkier than before. She did have a small stroke due to the pressure, but has since been doing splendidly, although I am not sure she is quite aware of who I am all the time.

Since her departure, and in between other trips to various parts of the country, I have been trying to do paperwork related to her new status. It’s actually pretty much the same as if she had died, while she is in fact living happily just down the road.

So – I have been battling in no particular order with British Telecom, the electoral register, Social Services financial assessments, the hairdresser, the Department for Works and Pensions, the Lifeline provider, GPs and pharmacies, her friend in London, domiciliary care, carer’s support, the library and the chiropodist. I was also advised to set up a funeral plan for her, as she didn’t have one. In a couple of weeks I will be meeting a terribly earnest woman to talk about options for caskets.

This weekend I have been trying to clear out the annexe where she lived, deciding what to keep, what to bin and what to send to the charity shop. Most of it has gone into boxes labelled “charity shop.”

A few years ago my mother asked me what I would do with her beloved belongings when she died, and I told her the charity shops would receive most if not all of it. She was appalled.

“But they were gifts!” she wailed.

“Not to me,” I said.

“From my friends…”

“Not my friends.”

“They mean so much to me…”

“I don’t know who gave them to you, when or why. They don’t mean anything to me. They might as well go to someone who will enjoy them because I think they are awful.”

I was skirting around my true feelings of course and may possibly not have said all that out loud. I probably did though. I don’t lie to my mother.

She tried to persuade me to keep them and I stoutly refused. Too much dusting for one thing, and too much searing pain in the eyeballs for another. I am not fond of those kinds of objects.

So here I am, putting things in boxes and reminding myself that she won’t be coming home. You don’t get better from dementia. She really won’t wake up tomorrow and remember who she is. It’s not Dallas.

We took four large bin bags of clothes and shoes to the charity shop yesterday. My mother loved her clothes and shoes. I reckon there’s another two or three bags to go, and that’s not counting the generously packed suitcase I took to the home, nor the pile of laundry that I will take to the home tomorrow to add to it.

I didn’t know how I would take this clearing out. I thought I would get upset. I thought I would get overwhelmed. I didn’t. I am tired, but it’s quite hard work and we have been at it all day.

I feel I’m in a kind of limbo. I can’t mourn for her because she is happily ensconced in front of a television less than three miles away. I don’t feel guilty, amazingly enough, because it’s easier to do it now than it would be after she died. I just don’t really feel anything about it at all, except weariness.

So that’s all good. I mean, there is no wailing or gnashing of teeth. There is no trauma, just a gentle drifting and waiting for the end to come. Each time the phone rings I am nervous, in case its The Call, but otherwise peaceful.

I am thankful she is well cared for and the staff seem kind and patient. She is so happy there it is clearly a success, and that is not a poor way to go.

I worried about what could go wrong, but this time it didn’t.

May you be as lucky as we have been, and find peace through difficult times.




9 thoughts on “Letting go

  1. I am glad she is comfortable and in good spirits. In the grand scheme of things, this is still early on, so once all the paperwork is finally completed you may cycle through these feelings again. Just be prepared, in case.

    ((hugs)) to you all

    • Waiting for the hammer to fall, as the song says. Hope all is well with you too – I have been a bit absent. {{Hugs}}

  2. Went through almost the exact same experience–packing things up, giving them away, and all that paperwork and phone calls–only it was after my mother passed. It is sadly fascinating that whole, rich and dynamic lives are reduced down to a date of death, a stack of papers, a social security number and a small handful of keepsakes. My break came at the final moment of walking out of the house for the last time, just before signing house sale papers. Ugh. Our meeting with the “terribly earnest woman about caskets” was with a strangely buoyant man days before my father passed. It was the single-most surreal, absurd and tasteless experience I’ve ever had to endure. It was all my mother, sister and I could do to not dissolve into laughing hysterics, all the while trying to stay aware of the very sober and very heartbreaking fact that my father was lying unconscious in a care facility only days away from his death. So, endure it you must, but know that it is far, far better to have this bit settled now.

    • thank you for sharing your experience – I had a terrible time trying to deal with things when my father died (my mother was completely helpless), so I know it is easier this way and am very grateful for that. It’s just the weirdness of finalising everything while she is still happily living down the road…
      No getting round it – it’s a rough old time whatever the circumstances

Go on then, it's your turn

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s