About a week ago, I spent a weekend packing up my childhood bedroom. After finishing with my bedroom, I moved into the rest of the house, packing up things left and right. I went through a range of emotions during the experience…from frustrated at the painfully slow process of packing up a bedroom that has looked the same since I was 15, to exasperated at how much f***ing stuff can even fit into a child’s bedroom, to astounded at the shear volume of school papers I still possessed in that bedroom, to sad at the realization that I had just spent my last night sleeping in my childhood room, to lonely from having to go through this without my mother, to excited to create new traditions and memories in a brand new house.
For the most part, I think I am happy at the change. While I spent almost my entire childhood living in that house, my mother also died in there. As one of her primary caregivers, I have haunting memories of our last days as a family of four (my dad, mom, little brother, and myself). That house contained our last Christmas all together celebrated early as my mother’s health deteriorated and then, just a few days later, our first Christmas without her. My family has forged through, attempting to deal with the pain and sadness the winter in this house embodies and I’m looking forward to a new time together in a new place. Over the weekend I finally felt ready to say goodbye to my mother’s closet full of possessions, although not before loading up a bag full of her things that I wanted to keep. I’ve replayed memories of our last trip all together, focusing on the fights that my brother and I insisted on having. While packing up everything, I asked my dad if he remembered anything else from that trip besides the fighting…he told me that he didn’t remember the fighting much at all. I don’t know why I insist on tormenting myself with all of the times that I wasn’t a good enough daughter to my mother…with all of the times that I didn’t find the right toolset within myself to act in the way that I might now.
I’m not sure how I’ll feel though, coming to visit my dad in a new house where there are no direct memories of my mom…
And then I had a realization.
There is no way for my life to continue without the constant guidance of my mother. She will always have an impact on where I am and what I’m doing, for new traditions will be forged with her watchful eye constantly on my mind and her love held tightly in my heart.