We've got to clean out Mom's apartment, for one. Hoping a furniture giveaway to people in the building, later this week, will clear out much of it. A lot of it is obvious garbage, some of it is marginally useful, and some of it - like the seven-foot long couch that my parents have had with them all my life, that they liked enough to have re-upholstered back in the 1990's, and that I slept on when visiting Ma's, much like my father once slept on it - is going to be an enormous hassle to even fit through the door, if we should be so lucky as to find a taker. (I'm attached to it, actually, but Erika isn't, and a seven-foot long keepsake is a bit much to make a case for; plus there's no room for it even in the storage locker).
In between, I'm baffled what to keep. When father passed, we saved a lot of stuff, because it would stay with Mom for what comforts it provided, because she had closet space we could use, and because Mom was living in the same building as she and Dad both lived in - the same suite, even, that they first moved into, twenty years or so ago. But the relationship to the space is changing, now. The building - the whole connection to Maple Ridge - is about to be a thing of the past. What I don't give away or throw away I have to put somewhere, and I only have so much room. I've saved obvious things - family photos; and a few odd things with sentimental weight, like the coat/ scarf she most often wore (pictured above; it joins my father's old coveralls, boxed up and stored away for no known future use). But I also look at a lot of stuff and think, well, really this is just garbage, even if I do feel some sentimental connection to it... I don't feel as attached to Mom's stuff as I did with Dad, and in fact don't really want to be reminded of her passing at all. Some photos I cannot look at now without crying, like, say, this one, taken by Erika on the 11th floor of our building; I love the picture, and I even showed it to Mom a couple times during her hospital stay - I keep it on my phone - and it made her smile, too, but I don't know when I'll be able to really look at it again without getting incredibly sad.
Incidentally, one of Mom's last requests was to go up to the 11th floor, presumably to see the view - but she was pretty confused, on that last day, thinking at times that she was still in her apartment. (She also at one point, when I suggested that she and Erika and I "just rest for awhile," after an hour or so of telling her jokes and reading her stories and playing her music and having little conversations with her, began to ask us, "which bed will you choose," which, we finally figured out, meant she thought we were going to nap with her in the Intensive Care Unit, have a little sleepover... it wasn't really what I had meant!).
Anyhow, I've done plenty of crying for the time being, and I don't really need anything to help it along. I did some just yesterday, when cleaning up - loading bags to the thrift store, bags to the dumpster, sorting through papers, and so forth: I stumbled across something or other that brought the loss home again full force, leaving me slumped on the floor at the foot of the aforementioned couch, sobbing and saying "I miss you."
It's good to cry, I know - better than storing it inside - but after awhile it just wipes you out, and you kinda want to move on to other emotions...
Meantime, if that's all not enough, there are money worries. There's no more money coming for Mom in May (and the Death Benefit she gets will be piddly; in her entire life, she barely worked - besides being my mother and a homemaker - and most of the work she did do was some fifty or sixty years ago, with the majority of her pension coming through because of father's extraordinary pension deals, as ex-Air Force/ ex-BCGEU). Mom's final cheques went mostly to cover her cremation, and what little money Mom had in the bank now is tied up until the estate is settled. I have income from some writing I'm still pushing myself to do, but I'm now on a medical EI claim, and any money you earn on such a claim is deducted dollar-for-dollar (unlike regular EI, where you keep a portion). Things will no doubt work out - I have some stuff I don't really want to part with, that I might be able to sell to cover a couple of these outstanding expenses - but it's one more worry to add to the pile...
Anyhow, I think that's going to be it, as for blogging about Mom and me. I have more to tell but maybe I'll be able to write something longer about the experience, I don't know. Really right now I just want to try to recover from the last couple months. I'm exhausted, raw, and have a life of my own to re-adjust to, here in Burnaby with Erika. She has been (and continues to be) very supportive through all this - she has my back, quite literally. It's a good, not entirely familiar feeling. Love her lots.
...and that's all I have for the time being. I had minute to kill while waiting to make a phone call, so I blogged this. Now I'm going to grab a shower, make that call, and get the show underway - back to Maple Ridge, to sort out what's garbage and what isn't, and to try to make the space look presentable for furniture-seekers.