It is amazing what can trigger great pangs of sadness and overwhelming grief about the treasured days of yesteryear. The ”good old days.” The story below explains what a change in location has meant to one woman.
This is how she feels:
Just hearing the words “Home Sweet Home” sets my mind on a downward spiral. It is not a conscious thing but almost gutteral, deep down within me. It can come on all of the sudden. Like when I went to a friend’s house over the holidays and she served me her Maple Nut Coffee Twist and lemon tea in a Wedgewood cup and saucer. And merry music was playing.
A train platform was set up for her grandkids, complete with ice skaters, little villages with twinkling lights and a variety of train sets. Her husband bought them for their first born – a little boy, 57 years ago. She still had the trains.
There were photographs lining the walls and tabletops covered with a finery of lace doilies. Her dining room table was set with a plaid tablecloth and pretty dishes. The clean fresh scent of the Bayberry candles wafted throughout the room.
And then we sat in her little parlor with afghans draped over the chairs and sofa. I looked at the embroidered and crocheted pillowslips.
She still has her “old life.” When you are feeling like I am, it seems like everyone else has a picture postcard life.
Mine has changed. I live in a small room now and the furnishings are not my own. I don’t have my old pots and pans and Tupperware containers or my own refrigerator. I don’t feel good about myself. Over the years, my finances were depleted caring for an adult child who had disabilities. I did not work outside of the home. And as I grew older, I did not have the savings to continue living in my own home. And I struggle with accepting where I am now. There was a little poem that I had framed on my kitchen wall. The verse very aptly stated my feelings about being a mother:
“So have the cookies near at hand
And give these rooms to fun.
Let children all be happy here
Until the day is done.
Let’s keep this home with joy aglow
And free from fret and fuss;
For should they rather elsewhere be
The fault would lie with us.”
If anybody looked into my window, they would see a “grown woman” holding on to four cherished possessions, a treasured trail of my four children.
As I lay down to sleep, I gather the Winnie the Pooh pillow, the well-worn cocoa brown one-eyed teddy bear – minus the wind-up key that played the lullabye music, a big dog stuffed animal and a scratchy pink blanket.
And I hold all four priceless items, very close to my heart -all four items that used to go to sleep with my now grown up children. Now many years ater, they go to sleep with their “very grown up mom.”
This may sound a little odd but to those mothers who still yearn to be needed and loved…..they will understand.
I miss the days of their little bibs and closing the Venetian blinds when I tucked them in for the night, dipping eggshells in craft glue and glitter, pulling a tiny wooden sled, and putting Bactine on a skinned knee. I miss the sweet little voice saying, “Mommy, hold my hand!”
And so my nightly ritual is this: I close my eyes and pray for each of my four children. I pray for their friends, loved ones, jobs, health and for protection.
I hold the “security” items and I hold on to the memories of being their mother. I feel an ache in my heart.
Stuffed animals and lap blankets for Seniors? Oh yes, they mean the world to older people. Just listen to what a blanket and stuffed animal mean to me!
About Patricia Gallagher: