Sunday, October 23, 2011
When my beloved mother-in-law (who I affectionately called "Momma") passed in January we had to clean out her room at the assisted living facility where she had lived for about 4 years. My mother-in-law was always a stylish woman, she wore perfume and lipstick all the way up to the few days before she passed. She had tons of clothes in her closet. When we moved her here from Cleveland, I started washing her clothes for her about once a week. Whenever I would go over to visit her, she always made a HUGE production out of me washing her clothes. The caregivers and I had worked out a system so I knew which clothes were dirty and which were clean. They would leave the buttons or snaps undone on the clothes hanging on their hangers in the closet, so I could pull them right out of the closet and toss them into a bag to take home and wash. There would also be a few articles of clothing in the dirty clothes basket too, but all of her clothes could easily fit into one load in our washing machine. We would go through the same "dog and pony" show every week. She would say stuff like, "Cathy, that's too much of a bother, don't wash those clothes!!" I would always say back, "why, do you want to smell?" She would kind of shake her head at me, but she would be laughing. When we had to bring all of her clothes back to our house, I knew at some point we would have to donate them all. I found it really hard to go through all of her clothes, because they still smelled like her and her perfume. I let them sit in our spare bedroom for a few weeks and then my hubby started saying, "we really need to be going through these clothes and donate them." I kept trying to explain to him I was having a really difficult time going through her clothes. I did eventually start washing them and began to donate them to charity. I had put a handful of the clothes aside either to keep for myself, or that had to be dry cleaned/needed special cleaning. About a week or so ago, one of the charities that we donate to was having a pick up. I gathered up about a loads worth and started going through the pockets of the clothing. I reached into one of the pockets of her favorite coats and I found a bunch of popcorn. My mother-in-law loved popcorn! She would save the bags of popcorn from the "Popcorn Socials" for my hubby when he would visit her. She always felt she had to "give" him something. She also would save her desserts from her meals to give to him. I think on some levels (she had advanced dementia), she was still trying to entertain. When she lived in Cleveland and we would visit her and my father-in-law she would always be a terrific hostess. She was also one heck of a cook and baker. I would always tell her she could make better chocolate chip cookies than me! I'm a person who believes that when someone passes , you can still feel their presence, not like a ghost, but that when you are sad and missing them a lot they let you know that they are there to comfort you. Thank you Momma for letting me know you are still around. I still love and miss you so much.