It’s like an archaeological dig clearing out a parent’s home. Every cupboard, every drawer divulges some artefact that you remember from elsewhere in your ancient childhood.
Then there are the geological strata of purchasing to go through, where useful items like, say, batteries have been bought, stored, covered by something, then bought and stored again in repeated cycles. Empty canisters, used products are added to the heap, unaccountably. Peeling away these layers of carelessness is depressing. Once again, the bin bags are swelling as I come across new stashes of detritus. Everywhere there is evidence of Mum trying to carry on her life but failing, and stashing the evidence rather than disposing of it. This chaos is indicative of her mental state, it somehow is her, and I’m ruthlessly throwing her away in handfuls.
I am in her bedroom now. The bed is one of those electrically adjustable ones. It’s frozen in a half-up state. I find that a cable has been dislodged. How long has it been like that? Is that another reason why Mum started sleeping in her chair in the Living Room? This is all so pathetic that I feel tears rising.
I sit in the Living Room trying to concentrate on the flickering, malfunctioning TV, eating my microwave meal. It’s too quiet and lonely here, and I write as someone who normally looks for solitude. I think about Mum’s existence here and the tears come.