In my mum’s house, there are lots and lots of things. Object d’art, brick-a-brack, pottery, figures, boxes etc. My mum says she will need to have a clear out, but the prospect of which is too hard to contemplate. Each item is a memory of a place or a time. A holiday, a day out, an adventure. Her whole life is there in the things around her.
To me it just looks cluttered. I have no connection to any of the items. If I had my way the majority would be gone to the charity shop. Even when she points out that we got this or that on some visit or other., it means nothing. I am not a “thing” person. I have learned to travel very light and possessions really do not have any hold over me. They are exactly that “things”. People matter much more.
But my mum’s things are hers. She can describe where each one is from, even if it takes her a minute to recall. She is lost then in a reverie of delight as she remembers the weather and the day and the circumstances of the purchase. We can start a long conversation about an item or two which sometimes is a good way of entertaining her.
This is to be preferred than the hours of time she spends in the chair in the silence. I personally am finding great difficulty with this. But with the trappings of modern technology e.g: earphones, I can listen to radio 4 and my mum can have her silence. I am in a dilemma though as to whether all this silence is good for her. I offer music, the radio, the TV. But, of course, we don’t have the TV on till after 5pm in the afternoon! I retire to my room as a coping strategy to watch what I want, however I am aware she is downstairs alone by herself.
So, we will talk about the history of the green vase. A ceramic bought from the factory shop many years ago. Oh, and now I have found some old photos. It is good to look back and get the names of people I never knew. They are after all a part of my history. I may have to remember them to pass on to younger members of the family. Sad they are not here to share with my mum.