Friday 18 January 2013
Yesterday I threw away the last of my mother’s funeral flowers.
Today it is raining and dismally grey outside and so is my heart.
I have to go to my parents’ house, to face the difficult task of sorting through their personal documents deciding what to keep and what to discard.
I reach their house in the retirement village, open the door and quickly lock it behind me, not wanting to see any of the well meaning neighbours.
I need to be alone to feel their presence, to say goodbye, to mourn two lives which have come and gone leaving imprints in my life which will last forever. For at least an hour I just sit there, unable to start the task before me feeling emotionally numb and paralysed.
Then at last I force myself to open the first drawer and I am instantly captivated by memories.
In the drawer hidden away under a stack of old papers I find a little creamy yellow box . When I open it, I am greeted by beautiful vintage costume jewellery and I immediately see my mother wearing it.
I must have been two or three years old and they were going to a dance. She was wearing a light yellow dress tight fitting in the middle, with a wide puffy skirt. She looked like a princess with her dark curly hair, fifties style dress and the glittering crystals around her neck and in her ears.My sister and I stayed home that night dreaming of one day going dancing and being princesses too.
The memory lifts my heart and the rain doesn’t sound so dismal anymore.
Then I find a piece of wood, lovingly varnished by my father and kept for many years on the top shelf of his bookcase. It embodies the memories of his beloved farm in the bushveld and brings back vivid pictures of evenings sitting around the campfire and days spent in the veld tracking the wild animals he loved so much.
The rain is beginning to sound like music.
There is a newspaper clipping, yellow with age announcing:
” Horselovers From Our Community Come Together for Endurance Race.”
There we are, my sister,me and a friend smiling at the camera with the assurance of our youth. Now many years later I still remember my aching muscles after the long and gruelling endurance ride.
Memory after memory emerge from the files and drawers in the study and as the day progresses my mood lifts and the sun starts shining again in my aching heart.
At the end of the day I realise there is healing in unpacking and sorting through the memories. Some are discarded, some are filed away while others will be cherished forever.
Although it is still raining when I drive home, my heart is not raining tears anymore.