Yesterday, Dave, my younger brother and I cleaned out Mom’s apartment. She died last week, not long after her 90th birthday. I was able to fly out from California for her party. It was a lot of fun. Mom had a rough night just before I left to go home. Just before my plane took off, I got a call telling me that she had to go to the hospital. She wasn’t doing well, and Dave gave me the heads up in time for me to get a flight from California back to New Jersey. We both were by her side when she passed away.
I’ve been in New Jersey now, for a week and a half since Mom died. I am glad that she seemed to die peacefully and without pain. Although it was truly odd to be there when she was living one moment and not living in the next. I am sure that I haven’t started grieving yet since I have not had that crushing sadness that everyone talks about. I think that the joy of seeing my cousins whom I haven’t seen in years mitigated my sad mood. I am fairly good at compartmentalizing and take any opportunity to do so.
The happy feelings at seeing my cousins were replaced by a combination of nostalgia and reflection as Dave and I began to empty Mom’s apartment. I learned some things I hadn’t known before; certain objects I remembered resurfaced. However, the time constraints of vacating by end of the month made us accelerate the process. As I suspected, my careful labeling of boxes and photographing all the contents went by the wayside as we packed box after box after box. In the end, there were many boxes which had to be labeled ‘Miscellaneous’ since the contents were not organized. As the apartment emptied, time slowed down. It was taking forever. There was always something to put in a box.
We could say we emptied Mom’s apartment “on time and under budget.”
This was the last item to go: the watercolor I painted for Mom’s 90th birthday.
Meanwhile, at Dave’s. This is currently the scene:
I go back to California tomorrow.