Friday, April 27, 2012

Nearly there

Well. We've done it. We've spent the last three days sorting things out in my mother's flat: bringing down to our house anything that we or the offspring have decided to keep; discarding large quantities of plastic boxes, orphan lids and chipped items; setting stuff aside for giving to a charity shop; setting other stuff aside to take to Fresh Start, the charity that provides household equipment for people who have been homeless;
taking lots and lots of pictures off the walls and ornaments off tables and mantelpieces and sitting them around in organised groups. And washing stuff: plant pots and vases and long-unused dishes and kitchen equipment.
Our sitting room is now full of items from the flat. So are our kitchen and our study. I was going to be so firm - we don't need anything. But how can you not keep your great-great aunt's lovely china that you've known all your life? Or the pretty coffee set that your mother was so pleased to get as a wedding present in 1946, when pretty things were almost unobtainable? Or at least some of the things so familiar to you from your childhood - vases and spoons and the chess table and ... .
My parents had a lot of china and crystal. "Why do you have so many crystal glasses?" I asked this evening, having spent a long time taking it out of the cabinet and arranging it on tables.
"Well, we used to use it," said Mum. "And you don't think that one day you'll peg out." [Edited to add: didn't realise that "peg out" is a British expression. It means to come to the end, ie in this case die. I quite like the idea of being nearly 90 and not thinking that one might die.]
I'm really aware these days that pegging out is quite a possibility. And yet my determination to divest us of stuff so as not to burden our kids when we die isn't really bearing fruit at the moment. Quite the reverse, in fact.
The auction house chaps come at 10 tomorrow morning to clear the flat. I'm not looking forward to it. "At the moment," I said to Mr Life a few minutes ago, "it doesn't feel so bad. It almost feels as if we could put it all back and everything would be normal again."
This roused him from his exhausted torpor. "No, we could not," he said. Very firmly. And he's right, of course.


Thimbleanna said...

Oh Dear. You're going to need a long vacation after this. I can completely relate to everything you've said. I wake up at night worrying about the nightmare that our children would face if something happened to us tomorrow -- but, do you think that stops me from bringing more stuff home? Hang in there Pam, it sounds like you're on the home stretch.

Relatively Retiring said...

Exhausting, but you will feel liberated once it's really finished.

Marcheline said...

Hugs to you in this emotionally fragile time. My mom is currently doing the same thing, so I know it's tough.

Off to google "pegged out", a brit-ism heretofore unheard of by yours truly.


Gina E. said...

Peg out. Like that. One of my favourites here is "drop off her perch".
I can related to your query over the crystal - my parents and Ken's parents both had cupboards full of it, and most of it just gathered dust over the years. We gave most of MIL's crystal to the opshops, whose shelves are already overflowing with it.