Dementia House

This is a follow up to Messy Mind-Messy House which I posted a couple of months ago.

I love writing my blog. It is a way to express myself; to share ideas and get feedback. I write for the enjoyment of writing itself. Sometimes however I must admit expressing my views on spirituality, politics, science or sex is also a welcome distraction from the sadness I can’t escape from…

The long wet summer is coming to an end. Tomorrow I fly to Austria to start my next teaching course. I will be busy. I have a lot of new teachers to train and a lot of promotional work to do between my regular teaching. I wish I had more energy but the last year and the last summer have taken their toll. I do feel emotionally drained.

In between teaching here in England and visiting my Mum every day, I have been continuing to clear my Mum’s house out in preparation to sell it. I set myself little goals every day, but often get side tracked looking through old photos and documents… How many memories can I keep and where can I keep them? Which things need to just be thrown away?

Stupid things like knives and forks, cups and mugs make me cry because I have nowhere to keep them and they all bring back memories of happier days with mum… I have to prioritize; to choose the most important things and consign everything else to the waste bin or take them round to charity shops.

For the first few weeks progress was very slow. I just moved things around, making piles of stuff to look through again. Sometimes I forgot what was in which pile. The house looked more and more messy…

Finally in the last few weeks I have started taking stuff away and throwing things in the waste bin. There have been several trips to charity shops with piles of clothes, kitchen utensils and even cuddly toys.

And each day the house looks more empty and sad.

The process of clearing the house seems to mirror the process of the dementia which is stealing my mum from me.
At first memories get lost, but they get found again, turning up in unexpected places. There are moments where things seem normal, or only slightly re-arranged… Names and places get muddled up just as if they have been put in the wrong pile…
But then some things disappear altogether as if they have been taken out to the trash can. Slowly more and more things vanish from the mind and the house and what is left seems like a sad empty shell.

This morning my mum could barely communicate. None of her sentences made any sense. I think she understood that I won’t be able to visit for a while and I think it made her sad. But she didn’t know where she was. She seemed lost and empty.

And I wonder; when I return next month will she still remember me or will the garbage men take those memories from her as well?

The house is nearly empty now. I’ve made it look as nice as possible considering what has gone. I will set about selling it when I get back. It was my home too.

3 responses to “Dementia House

  1. Pingback: If you throw away half your stuff, you’ll end up with twice as much left as you think «

  2. Cassie,

    I recall a similar process with my mother. All those things. Most thrown out, some given away, a few things kept for the memories. But in the end, just things. Not her.

    You write so beautifully, although it makes the sadness and difficulty all the more real and powerful to me. Acceptance. That’s all I can seek now.

    I hope you had a safe journey to Austria. You are a loving daughter and a courageous writer.


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