We’re back, and it was actually quite a nice visit to Southern Ontario. The kids were great in the car — Little Miss Sunshine was particularly adorable, the way she’d yell, “TRUCK!” every time a truck went past, and the way she’d tentatively ask for a “Jooce? Bag?” when the other kids were getting a Kool Aid Jammer. Everyone slept and ate pretty well. The older kids gave their grandmothers an unheard-of number of hugs and all the cousins got hand-drawn pictures of themselves playing with Gal Smiley and Captain Jelly Belly. Sweet.
The hardest part was, of course, helping my mother deal with my grandmother’s house. In the end we didn’t do as much as I had hoped because my Mom just wasn’t ready to deal with it. She doesn’t want to give anything to charity and can’t bear to throw anything out, but does not have the space in her own home to absorb a whole other house’s worth of kitchen stuff and bathroom stuff and furniture. I think she would prefer to just leave the whole house completely untouched for a while, say, 10-20 years or so. I absolutely do not blame her and I completely understand — it was very hard for me too to see my Nana’s things everywhere and I just missed her so much, being in her house. But in the end I did convince my mom to do a little work and we got some things done, and I hope that just getting the ball rolling will help move my mother in a positive direction.
I took a few things of my grandmother’s home with me. She had specifically set aside a Royal Doulton figurine for me to inherit, which was nice and everything, but just didn’t say “Nana” to me. I found myself wandering aimlessly through the house, just picking up things that she’d used every day, things I’d seen in her hand, and throwing them in a box. I had little interest in her fine china and other collectibles, but I wanted her kitchen mixing bowls, the spoon from her sugar bowl, the box of matches from her trip to Singapore. It was very sad and affecting but I’m glad I got a chance to see her house and spend some time grieving there.
While I was there I dropped by the bank where SocialButterfly works to say hi, and she introduced me to a friend of hers who works the side counter. This friend was so incredibly rude. She asked if I’d be “cleaning out the house,” and when I said yes, she went into a five minute lecture about how old people are pack rats, and are inconsiderate of the people who will be left to deal with the stuff, and how every one of them should be moved into a nursing home so that they can clean up their own damn mess before dying. I couldn’t get over it — she was actually suggesting to me that it was thoughtless of my grandmother to go and die and leave behind a bunch of junk.
First of all, her personal stuff IS NOT JUNK. And second of all, she was absolutely NOT a pack rat. And third of all, when you get old, LADY, be sure and dump all your most loved items in the trash on your way out the door, because I’m sure no one will care to have YOUR JUNK.
Other than that, though, it was a nice visit and provided some closure. So that’s good.