Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Taking my mama to the doctor today. I told her to be in the lobby of the building where she lives, DOWNSTAIRS, please, at nine forty-five. We shall see if she's there. I have a feeling she may not be. She is having such a hard time remembering things.

And then I suppose, after her appointment, I should go and try to clear some more things from her house, clean out the drawers of the refrigerator where things had gone bad and turned to brown liquid. It is a sure sign of my mother's slipping in that her house is so dirty in some places. She was always incredibly tidy and neat. One time when she was baby-sitting for me, she told one of my daughters that she would show her how to REALLY clean a sink. As opposed to the way I did it. For a present she once bought me one of those stones you can use to clean the hard water deposits from your toilet.
Seriously. She did.

It's just so fucking hard, wandering around her house, trying to decide what to do with stuff. You throw something out and sure as shit, that's the thing she asks for you to bring her. And Lord knows I don't want to throw out any Antiques Roadshow prizes.

Oh lah. It is just one of those days. Barely begun and I feel weary and sore and with nothing to rest my mind on to bring any real peace. This is no one's fault but my own- normal people would plan something fun to do, a distraction, a pedicure, at least, so that when I look down I might see neat toenails but I sigh and think what's the point because I know how quickly my feet would return to their dirty-child normalcy and what IS normal, either in people or in feet?

What's the point, what's the point, what's the point?

Well, the point is...I don't know.

Some days the point is to get through it. The heat, the dust, the accumulated detritus of the ages, the stories of long-ago, the confusion, the soreness, the sense of life beating and defeating and perhaps tomorrow, when my task is to take care of Owen, it will all make more sense.


  1. Well, it makes sense that this one would make you feel stuck. A lot of my mother's stuff is still in attics... 9 years later...

  2. Ah, you've got your hands full. I don't know about the point of life. Or the point of cleaning, or of doing anything, actually. Misery is misery and it seems to be everywhere.

  3. Get the pedicure.
    The point is sitting down for 20 minutes and letting someone rub your tired feet.

  4. Tomorrow will be better. Owen always makes sense. He is little Mr. Perspective.

    Love you, Mary.

  5. Oh honey, whine away. My mom's the type of hoarder who digs through the junk mail I threw out for an ad for plastic toothpicks she already has all over the house. So much stuff. I've spent days clearing a corner of a room and needed therapy and medication when I was done. The deciding what to do with so much stuff, especially in the face of so much anger and hurt and declining faculties. My mom maintains that if we loved her, we'd understand how much her things mean to her, and without her things she might as well crawl under a rock and die. Before Dad died, he begged us to leave her be and not upset her, just light a match to the house when she dies. It's becoming a filthy, unsafe house and we just can't stop her. She intends to die in that house, entombed in things we must deal with after she is gone. Makes me want to run away and join a circus, or adopt out of my own family.
    So, I understand how hard it is to deal with someone else's things, to worry that a wrong decision might infuriate her. It's very hard, hard, hard work, right when we least need hard work, when we're so tired and we'd like to be taken care of ourselves. If a pedicure isn't the thing, please do something nice for yourself, even if it's just a nap or a soak in the tub where you let all that go. And I hope Owen's visit is just what you need to help you forget all that for a little while. Hugs.

  6. I hate pedicures, but I would so take one of those stones to clean toilets. (Actually ... I used to have one.)

    Sometimes days are just heavy and it is all about getting through. And you will. Whine away.

  7. What DTG said, and loved SB's comment about Owen.

    Hang in there mama.

  8. Mary, darling......please stop torturing yourself over your Mother's possessions.....if you get rid of something she might want.....too damned 2 days she will forget she ever had it.....

    The important one in this equation is YOU. You must be preserved and protected from unnecessary guilt and pain because you still have a lot of important work to do on this earth.....your Mother does not.

    You are doing a magnificent job caring for her guess is a gazillion times better than she deserves.....I just hope she appreciates you a little bit.

    And, before you condemn me for being a hard-hearted monster, I feel I have earned my right to be that way by being close to your Mom's age and understanding that being old does not exempt you from having to give up things and endure tough situations. We ancient ones should be grateful for any good that comes our way and accepting that there will be bad stuff mixed in no matter what age we are.

  9. Jo- This will NOT be happening to me.
    It will all be gone. I swear to you.
    Oh, she'll still be here but her stuff will be gone.

    Angie M- Misery is such a good and descriptive word. Around here people sometimes say they have the "miseries."

    Lisa- I fear I would have to bleach my feet first. I am too ashamed to take them in for anyone to see, much less touch.

    DTG- Patience! I love you.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- And Little Mr. Funny Pie. You're perfectly right. As always.

    Mel- My mother was saying the exact same sort of things until we pretty much forced her into her new place and now she is SO delighted. SO happy. She has the things she loves the most and the rest? Fuck it. She doesn't even miss it, I think. Mostly. And okay, I'll try to do something nice for myself. Does that mean something other than weeding the garden?

    NOLA- I wish I still had that stone. I'd use it on my FUCKING FEET!

    Bethany- Thank you, darling girl. I hope you make Tomato Pie.

    Lo- Oh, god. It's just so hard on so many levels. Too many bad memories associated with a lot of that stuff and a lot of what-the-fuck? associated with a lot of it too. And honestly, the woman is as happy as a jaybird now. Her words. A quote. She sits in her chair surrounded by her things and she looks out of a window with her violets on the sill and she can see trees and sky and birds flying by. And there is ice cream in the freezer right down the hall. I am NOT going to agonize. I swear to you. If I had my way, I'd pay someone to come and take it all away, never to think of it again.

  10. I have cleaned out a lot of detritus of the ages with my parents. It wasn't easy, but I have done it at least twice. Sometimes I am amazed at the things that I have done.

  11. Yes. Get through it and keep breathing. A good lesson.

    (Haha you said you were wining and my WV is winess - that amuses me.)

  12. Mary you're doing a brilliant job. You know what to get rid of and what not to, she won't remember anyway. It will be over soon.

    As for feet - I went for a spray tan in one of those booths on Saturday for the first time in years and didn't put the barrier cream on my feet properly. You would laugh if you saw them. I have orange feet, dark brown soles and white legs. Beautiful! It'll wear off in a day or so thankfully. My pedicure's good though. Go and get one, you deserve it. At least your nails will look good through the dirt xx


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