Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Purging at a standstill

You know when you're watching a television show like Criminal Minds and they visit the house of a family who's child perished years ago? And then they find that those parents have left the child's room completely untouched, despite all the time that has passed? Well, I get it.


It turns out I'm just like those parents, but in a reverse role.

My mom passed away just over two months ago (has it really been that long?), yet today was the first time I was actually able to go into her house and begin the task of tidying up.

I've dreaded this day for so long, simply because I don't want to touch anything in her home. I want to keep it as she left it.

Her slippers are still at the back door entrance.

Her most-recently washed dishes are still in the dish strainer by the sink.

A set of clothes are perfectly laid out on her bed, just where she left them the last time she was there.

And the contents of her purse are essentially untouched, ready for her to go out shopping or to get her hair done.

I'm just so emotionally attached to everything about that house, and I feel that cleaning it out will essentially be erasing my mom's memory and everything about her life.

How do people do this?

I remember that, when my dad died, my mom was relatively quick in cleaning out his dressers and closets, donating all of his clothes and belongings. I know it was an overwhelming task for her, too, but it needed to be done, and so she just did it.

But, for me, I'm just having a really difficult time letting go.

My husband was off work this morning, so he came with me -- partly to lend a hand.... but mostly to ensure that I didn't back out and just head home or to an all-you-can-eat buffet, where I could drown all my sorrows in some comfort food. (Because you know I totally would.)

Mercifully, though, I had a plan going in.

Since the basement of my mom's house is still mostly occupied by our belongings and not my mother's, I decided we should start down there. Which was smart, because it turns out it's much easier for me to sort through my own old clothes and items, since I've gone so long without them anyway.

The albeit-small dent we made this morning actually felt really good, and I'm hoping my motivation to continue will carry over when I head back tomorrow.

Otherwise I may be hitting that buffet table sooner than I think.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Old souls

Back in late 2013, a Canadian family posted a YouTube video of their 10-month-old baby online, crying as her mother sang her an emotional song. It's so beautiful and touching to see such a little person tune into the emotion of a song, obviously without even knowing the meaning of the words.

This video has had nearly 16 million views, and the family even appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Last night, my 8-month-old son did the same thing when my husband attempted to give an emotional reading of the children's book Little Baa.

In the story, Little Baa becomes separated from his mother, who searches everywhere for him. Early in the reading, my boy's eyes reddened and his lips started turning to a frown.

Then, all of a sudden, my little man violently burst into tears and was inconsolable.

Several hours later, my husband again attempted reading him this book. But he barely made it past the first page this time before my son again burst into tears.

My poor little man. Sweet and overly sensitive, just like his mama.

Maybe one day he, too, will be expressing his feelings in the form of a blog. Or an emotional song or book.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Reading out loud

I knew I wasn't the only person who did this.

While doing some online research for a couple of home renovation articles I'm working on, I stumbled upon this handy tidbit about how to spice up the ordinary laundry room and laundry-doing experience:

"Hearing Things? Hope So: Bring your radio into the room and tune to your favorite station. Make sure you have a long, functioning antenna if your laundry room is in the basement. Wait a minute... are we in the 90s? Get a nice sound system and hook up your iPod or Pandora to listen to the best laundry-doing music to keep you going strong. Also, although it may seem a little old school, look into books on tape! You have to do laundry. It's just inevitable. Use the time it takes to accomplish this household chore to your advantage and listen to that book you've always wanted to read but never had time to."

You see! I'm not the only person who swears by listening to books on tape.

Who has time to just sit and read a book, anyway?  This way, you can finish a novel while doing laundry.... or on the treadmill.... or making dinner..... or washing dishes..... or laying in bed..... or driving..... or......

This is multitasking at it's finest. And I feel vindicated in knowing that books on tape are trendier than they sound.

(If the internet says so, then it must be true.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wild on screen

“…the death of my mother was the thing that made me believe the most deeply in my safety: nothing bad could happen to me, I thought. The worst thing already had.” 

― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

For those who are interested in seeing Reese Witherspoon portray Cheryl Strayed in the movie version of Wild, your best bet is to read the book first. Or better yet, listen to it on tape, like I did.

Truth be told, it took me a little while to really get into the story, which is why it's a good thing that I was listening to it on my iPod. Had I just been reading the book, I may never have gotten past the first couple of chapters, which would have been a real shame.

Last Friday was my 37th birthday or, as my husband put it, my first birthday without parents.

Only two movies that interest me are playing in theatres right now: American Sniper and, of course, Wild. Given the circumstances, it was a no-brainer for me to select Wild for our first night out alone in months.

For the record, I did really enjoy the movie, and I'm glad I got to see it on the big screen. But for others to enjoy it, too, I really do feel that the book needs to be read (or listened to) first. 

I don't know anyone who's read the book and didn't love it. It moved me in many ways, but, of course, it will affect everyone differently depending on what they're going through in life.

So go out and read the book, then see the move. You won't regret it.

All the things I’d done in my life, of all the versions of myself I’d lived out, there was one that had never changed: I was a writer.”

― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail