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Friday, 22 April 2016

Memories and Spring Cleaning

It is time for spring cleaning. At least, that's what Mom always said. Every spring and fall she went through the entire house, cleaning walls, windows, washing everything in sight. The last week of her life, I was visiting and did it for her. She has been gone for eight years but spring cleaning washes away those years as well.



Nan always did spring cleaning too. Everything was washed out, aired out and washed up in preparation for summer. Mom learned from the best. In the days of wood, coal and oil stoves, the walls were a mess after a long winter. Everything had to be sparkling clean for the days when the windows could be open and the screens put in place to keep out the flies. Air would flow through the house again.

Mom spent the last years of her life living in a spacious apartment in my brother's home. She was happy there, continuing the lifestyle she enjoyed, without the responsibility of the family home. Except for spring cleaning, always the spring cleaning, though the old stoves were long gone. 

After the long winter of 2008, I made the first trip to St. John's to visit Mom on April 13th. She had found the winter hard because she was not out as much as usual. Mom was looking forward to our shopping expeditions, eating out and visiting family and friends as we usually did. However, she was different as she knew and I was to learn.

We didn't do the usual, staying in the apartment instead and talking. In my heart, I knew she was near the end, and as is usual for me, I did housework because I was anxious. Mom was glad to have the cleaning done, though her apartment was not dirty. It was hardly dusty. It did not pass the dirty water test. Mom liked to see the water become dirty when she cleaned because it proved her efforts were not in vain.

On the morning of the 20th, she woke up, and as I helped her out of bed, she died in my arms from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. A shock, sudden, but not unexpected!

Yesterday as Rick and I started our spring cleaning, Mom was in my head and heart, gone but not forgotten.

22 comments:

  1. This time of year must be bittersweet for you.
    Now, I guess I know why spring cleaning was such a big deal.

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    1. It had to be a big deal in those days because of the soot.

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    1. Thank you. I am happy to have had such a great woman in my life.

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  3. What a lovely woman she was, and how fortunate you were with here at the end, Marie. It makes me very sad in one way, but in another very happy that your bond was so strong. My heart goes out to you.

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    1. The sadness is replaced with happiness for having had such a great woman in my life. She was a great role model. The end was hard but I was privileged to be there.

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  4. I'm glad you got to be with her but it must have been a terrible shock. I guess we don't have to spring clean for the same reason that our elders did, but it still feels nice to know the house has gotten a good going over.

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    1. It does feel good to have a clean house for a few hours.

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  5. What a sweet smile and what a tragic thing you experienced Marie ... although I know you were so happy to be with her. My mother also ended up in a lovely apartment in my sister and husband's home. She had lost a lot of her eyesight and Peg and I would get a kick out of it when Peg would go into her kitchen and clean up. Mother never noticed that there were crumbs etc. on the counter and one of her favorite sayings was "I clean my little apartment once a month .. if it needs it or not." !!

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    1. Lol. It shows your Mom's great spirit!

      I was really lucky to have her in my life!

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  6. It sounds like she was a great lady! You must have lots of lovely memories! Sending a hug !!

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  7. She was the storyteller so I am driven to keep the stories alive.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your precious memory of your mom. I was moved to read your writing,which made me
    tears. She was happy woman to be in your arm at her end.
    I hope you have a lovely time.

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  9. In her mother's arms at birth and her daughter's when she died. She would have been happy with it, I think.

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  10. Very poignant and you make me cry. Lucky you to be with your Mom at the end. The medical people ran us out of my Mom's hospital room. I never understood why.

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  11. How horrible to have to leave. At a hospital, you should be given a choice to stay or not. I've come to think of it as a privilege to have been there.

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  12. Ahhhhh...you have made me weepy, but a peaceful, lovely weepy--with a big smile. I remember my own mom, whom I loved so dearly....and the best part---she knew that!! She was a lover of the spring and fall/Christmas cleaning as well.

    Thanks for making me sit and enjoy some beautiful memories for a few extra minutes on this sunny spring Sunday.

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  13. Glad that the post brought up some beautiful memories for you, Kathleen. Our mothers should be celebrated and remembered often. We carry them with us, in our DNA and in our hearts and minds. You'll have to tell Harper about her.

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  14. What a lovely story of your mom. Thank you.
    Yes, I hope we forget nothing too. This is the first time he has changed reservations ever, but I knew in my heart he didn't want to stay in that old motel on the beach.

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  15. It will be a hard move for sure, Mage. Good luck. I'm glad it's only four days, though that must seem like eternity now.

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  16. Our elderly next door neighbour always had a spring clean each year. You have followed her talent of story telling and keeping those stories and memories alive. Sarah x

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    1. Our family stories are an important part of our heritage. Thank you for your encouragement, Sarah.

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