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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Cleaning Out

Spring has sprung early this year. Hard to believe two weeks ago there was snow on the ground still.

The daffodils and tulips are coming up fast with our heat wave in March.  A set of daffodils popped out and bloomed today, but look dwarfed from not growing up normally.

Mr. Willow, my mom's favorite tree in the yard is budding out already on March 21st.  I keep going out to the yard and telling him to "cool it" as we are going to get hit with a big snow yet. Mom's lilac bushes are budding too.

I have never seen Spring so early here in Wisconsin; it is a real treat after last year with the long winter that reached into May. This is the kind of weather I am accustomed to in Denver, Colorado, where I used to live.

Cleaning out Mom and Dad's house of things already I am taking, and it's quite traumatic here seeing where a sofa, table, piano or chair used to be that were here for almost 33 years. I found putting the patio furniture in the empty spots helped ease the pain. Makes me feel like the folks have died again. And, I can smell my folk's smell in the house vividly this week. It is like they don't want us to go or clean out their things.  Little breezes brush by me in the house with no windows open. The other day I whistled for Dodger from upstairs, and I heard someone else whistle - my Dad. They are here still.

My little brother came last week and we loaded up a U-Haul for both of us. He took the 1965 formal dining room set, and before he left, he looked like was ready to cry. He gave me a big hug. Welcome to my world.

Instead of an apartment for the Dodger and I, I found a place for the same price, and loads of room for us! I rented a duplex to live in across town, and it needed a lot of work to live in first. It was filthy, but a diamond in the rough as I started moving into it right on my birthday in January. (pic from January)

I hired a duct cleaner who found Jimmy Hoffa in the furnace system which had not had a air filter installed properly by the last tenants. The furnace was full of dust, toys, and things.  It was gross, and landlord knocked it off my rent. Cleaned the carpets myself, and windows. Painted the living room over again at the new place as it was egg shell with a hint of purple in it. What started as antique white was too grey looking, so I had them add a "bit of lemon" to it. Now the walls are "POSIT NOTE YELLOW."  I can live with it and it makes the room look warm.

Living room before painting yellow

green room
 Can't decide what to do about the kitchen or bathroom, or one bedroom. The other bedroom has light green on the walls, I can live with. And, there is no dishwasher, so I am now the dishwasher with the limited counter space.

The 1959 piano arrived yesterday after I hired some movers. It is asking Mom's 1973 gold sofa and the 1965 end tables "where are we now?"  Managed to find a nice entertainment center at a thrift store and a friend helped me move it, but my TV won't fit in it, as it is too small. The living room looks nice, but I went from contemporary 1980's furniture, which I left behind in Denver, to 1970's gold retro. I found gold is back in! I am happy with it, and as late painter Bob Ross says, I have "happy clouds."

My siblings and their spouses come home next week to go over the folk's house, and they will have emotions flowing like I have. It is hard to break up a home after 60 years of marriage. Hopefully there will no bickering or fighting because I am not putting up with it after all I have been through being the caregiver here for the parents and caretaker of the house for them. 

Hopefully I found a buyer for my Mom's house, a friend from college who is the loan process.

I may perhaps move back to Denver after all is settled. Who knows.

Mom and Dad in 2007 -
 Mom wiped out from taking
care of Dad with Alzhiemers.
Contrary to what some of my fun family members think with their disparaging remarks about me being here to help, (there are always one or two in families!) I did a wonderful thing for my parents, and was able to keep my Mom in her own home until she died. She otherwise would have gone to assisted living and her money wiped out in a few months. She could not live by herself anymore after Dad died with her health problems and sickness every other day for two years here.

She was exhausted after from taking care of Dad for many years before he went into the rest home to die, and it took a toll on her health and shortened her life I believe.

I have no regrets coming home to help my parents in their final few years. No regrets.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I'm Okay!

I was in the formal living room  playing the piano with hymns and liturgy the other night. I would play sometimes at night while Mom was in the family room watching t.v. She would sometimes turn off her programs to listen to me playing a favorite or prodding my way through a new one. Sometimes she would come in to sit down and tell me about her favorite hymns.  After playing the piano the other night, and getting the dog back in after going "potty," we went upstairs to go to bed.

To my surprise, through the cracked door, I saw light pouring out of my parent's bedroom. It startled and scared the hell out of me at first, but as I walked to the door to open it with my heart beating fast, I cautiously walked in and said "Mom?"  Then, I smiled and laughed. It was the sign I was waiting for.

Mom's light mysteriously "ON"

Mom's light by her bed was "on."  It was a sign that she was telling me "I'm Okay!"

She told me on occasion that she would give me a signal or sign after she died to let me know she was okay. This was it.

Nobody has used the room since her funeral, and I vacuum and dust it once in a while. And, I keep the door cracked, so I don't have to look in there because it is too painful to go in my parent's bedroom  or see their beds, still made up like they are coming home to sleep there again. I notice that the air inside the room is a breezy cold, and I don't go in there much. It used to be warm in her room when she was alive, but now the temperature is cold in there. Bright sunlight beams from  the room  during the day.

But what a nice surprise.  I felt comforted with that light on, and quickly grabbed the camera to record it.

It has been five months since Mom died unexpectedly at Mayo Clinic and I will be moving on soon. In her will, I was granted six months to stay here in the house where I grew up and then was caregiver for her in her final years.  My sister in Texas has the hard task of being executor, and has decided to clear the house out and sell it empty. I am livid with her decision and agenda, as it seems so cold and callous. Perhaps it is her way of dealing with the grief?  It would be better to have me here until it sells with the dog and furniture around, so people looking at the house can see how it is here. The Realtors have told her to sell it with me here to watch the house so it sells; but she chooses to have it her way. Some people's kids! I get so angry with her ideas and plans because they make me nervous, and are such an intrusion and self-centered sometimes.  (Pastor friends tell me they hear stories of  family issues like this all the time.)

However since living here alone with the dog, I have noticed noises and things around the house since Dad and Mom died in one year. Dodger and I hear downstairs what sounds like someone walking in the master bedroom space upstairs. And, the dog and I have woken up from a sleep to hear my Mom's coughing, and I've heard Dad blow his nose with his distinctive trumpet sound in the bathroom .  I smile. I was in my Mom's room getting a book from her bookcase, and I felt a tug on my shirttail one afternoon. Doors to their bedroom  are closed at night, but are wide open by morning or open in minutes by themselves when you don't look.  And, the other night, I woke up with Mom's banging sound when she used to turn on the light switch in her room, or come up the stairs at night. Last night while tying my shoes sitting on the staircase, a flash of light in an orb whizzed right by me in the entryway. I didn't get scared, but felt comforted. Mom's hanging plants are in her room  for the winter, and blooming in March! Impatients.

Perhaps their spirits are here, waiting for the family to break up the household in order for them to move on?  Perhaps they are here to tell us they are okay and love us dearly?  I yearn for them, and miss them  very much. Somtimes I cry from the grief and sob like an idiot; I have been through a lot in two years.  Dodger comes and puts his head on my lap when that happens. He misses Mom  too.  Normal grief, and good to let it out to heal inside.

But in the meantime, I got the message I was hoping for, Mom let me know she is okay.

When the siblings come to disband the household, I hope they catch a glimpse of messages, or a sign like I have been given.  Perhaps they too might be comforted by their late parents giving them a sign or message of love from beyond.