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Story Time: Home is not a house

Posted on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 9:16 am

By Lorry Myers

I followed her, the wheels of her walker echoing throughout the house. My ninety-one-year-old mother flitted from room to room like Barbie in her dream home. The bathrooms were clean, the floors were mopped, and the furniture was gone.

My mother’s house is no longer her home.

She became sick, admitted to the hospital, then into a nursing home, and, finally, Assisted Living. With each transition, Mom told everyone she saw, that she just wanted to go home.

Now, here she was.

My mother aged well; her earrings sparkle, her white hair shines, and her red lipstick says the rest. Mom slowly adjusted to her new living quarters with chef cooked meals and friends to sit with on the patio.

Still, she wanted to go home.

When I first took her, I could tell that she was conflicted. The house was dusty and felt empty, even though it was full. My mother sat in her favorite chair, looked out the window, and then back at me.

“It’s time to sell the house,” she said.

That meant everything had to be emptied and examined. Linen closets, storage closets and that one closet everyone forgot. Drawers full of serving dishes and serving spoons, cabinets hiding glassware and silverware.

“Isn’t it beautiful,” my mother said, as she watched me go through her life.

The forgotten closet offered old scrapbooks of past adventures and yellowed photos of past lives. I’d bring them to Mom so she could sit and relive history. Some of the faces in the stiff photographs, my mother recognized but so many others went unnamed and unwanted because nothing was recorded on the back.

Let this be a lesson to you.

Slowly, slowly the house was sorted and with each item, another story would emerge. When everything was organized, I brought mom back to finger old Christmas decorations and tables of dusty trinkets.

Tables full of memories.

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard