Thursday, 25 August 2011
It will remain one day when dad has gone, to empty their house. Of course every child has to face this. I look around at the display cabinet with all my mother's beautiful china tea sets, cut glass trifle bowls and whiskey glasses; I see her bookcase full to bursting - some lovely books - and then looking around the house, all her ornaments full of memories, some hers, some mine. There are all the birthday gifts, the token gifts I brought back for her from school holidays abroad, the cockerel from Portugal, the cuckoo clock from Switzerland. When mom died, I took comfort from her sister, my dear aunt and my cousin - we all took home something to remember her by. My dad's bedroom bears witness to his interests in life, his photography equipment, hammers and nails and boxes of tools and bits of wood. Perhaps my brother will want a few things but most have been replaced by modern technology. Maybe close family will want a few things, although I know my own children don't. They don't like clutter or ornaments, they drink out of mugs. Why do I want none of these things and yet I can't bear the thought of donating everything to strangers. Would I prefer therefore to burn everything? Why do I feel this way? I can imagine I would want to take home the framed photographs we've given them over the years of our children but nothing else. What have any of you done with your parents' things? Does there come a time when they again become inanimate objects and cease to embody the person? How long does this take?