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.