On the things which grieving does to your mind, and some wise advice from an unexpected quarter

5 Oct

That’s a long title isn’t it? This morning has been a bit cathartic in a surprising way. We’ve been autumn cleaning – like spring cleaning, but at a different time of the year. Apparently, it’s a thing, according to the man we were just listening to on the radio.

First up for the autumn clean has been a load of kitchen cupboards. We found:
a packet of ground rice, unopened, best before May 2007 – that was the oldest, to be fair. I think I’d got it during a shortbread making spree
5 assorted jars and boxes of ground cinnamon
a jar of something which may once have been prunes but which now looked like an extra from Dr Who
20 mugs we never use
bits of old kitchen equipment we no longer have
three part sets of happy birthday candles

We nearly disposed of Rosie, Cal and Sylv’s hot chocolate mugs. Luckily they were rescued but not before accusations of trying to destroy childhoods.

And then, we had to deal with the empty Pears liquid soap container. That container has been embodying my inner problem with getting rid of things which Rosie may have seen or touched. We’ve never wanted to create some sort of shrine to her. But there is an internal voice, which points out, a bit tentatively, things which would still contain some kind of Rosie DNA. And this soap container was what she was using in the few weeks before she died.

It’s been next to some pottery whistles she bought back for us from Majorca. So why was I more keen (Chris hadn’t noticed it really) to think of her, dying, when I saw the Pears thing, than I was to think of her living and enjoying life, when I saw the whistles. So, not without a bit of difficulty, the Pears soap container has gone into the bin. And I’ve decided to concentrate on rebuilding the memories of Rosie when she was full of life, and not those last few weeks.

And this has been helped by some very wise words by someone who doesn’t like being mentioned in this blog. Autumn means death and decay and short days and fog and ice and summer being a distant memory. And during a moan about it, this wise person said that for her, autumn meant cosy nights, fires, hot chocolate, getting ready for Christmas and all sorts of lovely things. See, concentrating on the good things, not the dismal ones. Wise.

Jo xx


3 Responses to “On the things which grieving does to your mind, and some wise advice from an unexpected quarter”

  1. celia butler October 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    Another very thought provoking post Jo.
    I think you’re describing a part of the grieving process quite profoundly. The physical connections seem so important for a long time. Then a gradual shift which I can only describe as trusting in the memories and the sense of the lost person, which allows those physical things to become less crucial.
    Sounds as though you’re moving forward in a very positive way (and not just by clearing out the cupboards, can’t we all relate to those discoveries?). Have a lovely autumn. xx

  2. Coz Al October 5, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    It was a bottle of nail polish for me yesterday, one that mum had worn at Lucy’s wedding; it’s older than Ben and I couldn’t throw it away. I was clearing out cupboards too this weekend and I got rid of plenty of my things without too much difficulty, but one bottle of nail polish stays. It was their wedding anniversary today. 45 years.
    This was a lovely blog Jo, I agree with the thoughts about Autumn as well. I look forward to cosy socks, changing leaf colours and thinking about Xmas presents. Xxxxxx

  3. Judy October 6, 2014 at 7:04 am #

    My thoughts and sentiments are with you Jo. I lost my mother almost 8 years ago and our house is still full of her stuff, in cupboards and nooks and crannies. But it’s the wrong way round for you, Chris and the family. It’s “natural” to lose a parent and I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to lose your child. That said, you seem to be doing really well. And what do you think Rosie would have said to you keeping the soap bottle……..? You are all doing so well and my thoughts are with you. X

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