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collecting memories

Sunday morning: woke at 5.30 and got up at 7. Mum’s condo is something of a disaster, as all the stuff from her retirement residence, including a new bed, was shoved in here by movers. Piles everywhere. I expected to be overwhelmed, but I’ve been staying here while she’s in hospital, so I’m used to being here alone. Still, now, more alone.

Despite the snowstorm yesterday, the plane was only an hour delayed. Ottawa looks, as it usually does by now, like a moonscape of snow. Do came over right away, and we found a quiche in the freezer and drank wine – she had a whole glass! – and talked about Mum. And then she started to tell me stories of her own life. What a treasure she is – with an extraordinarily sharp mind and memory, this woman who greeted my mother on the day of her birth in 1923, who was there when Mum met my father in 1944, when my father died in 1988, who accompanied her sister thereafter on her many trips to Emerg. How lucky we are that she’s here.

There is much work to be done; I’ve started tentatively to open cupboards and drawers. I’d already dealt with the stacks of magazines – Homemakers and Bon Appetit – and the boxes and boxes of recipes. Mum was a collector, if you define a collection as being anywhere from 10 to 100 plus of the same item. Here is a partial list of her collections: combs, nail files, soup crackers, shower caps, silver spoons, nail scissors, Xmas cards, calendars old and new, notepads, handbags, evening bags, spongebags, kneehighs and stockings (hundreds), stuffed animals, cotton blankets, coins, bathrobes, beige pants, turquoise t-shirts. And very large shoes – Mum took size 13 – many of them unworn, in the original box. Where oh where will we find a woman with size 13 feet who needs a lot of shoes? Anyone?

The view outside Mum’s window at dawn this morning – a quiet blue snowscape with dots of light. I’m glad there is so much to do. I do not feel sad yet today.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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