This week I went to visit my mother’s empty house. Now aged almost 93, she’s moved into a full time care home. She’s happy enough there, she’s well, thankfully and safe too and probably more sociable having lived alone for the last decade.
The house will be sold and the furniture, the pieces that are not destined for recycling, will either be shared amongst us siblings or auctioned off to help pay for her care.
It’s an emotional time of life for us all, the moment when you realise that a generation is transitioning. It reminds you of your place in the process; mortality.
When I visited her in the house, I only saw her; I never really saw the house and her belongings. Without her there to draw my attention, the stage she played out her life upon fell into view. Battered cooking utensils, rigid teak furniture, faded rugs and sun-bleached photographs surrounded me, all pleading silently for rescue.
Items that had use, that were used regularly, that had purpose, sat idle and forlorn. Time had stolen their utility just as it had stolen the youth of my mother and would one day would steal from us all. New fashions and technologies that seeped unheeded around her slowly took the breath from her modest possessions.
The future, when it arrives, consumes all that it encounters and its only output is memories. Mum’s memories will be of a good life, a long and happy marriage and a caring and healthy family. I think to myself as I lock up the house and load a few dusty relics into the car that these, together with her unswerving faith, will give her comfort in her new home.