Yesterday was the hardest day, I still cannot completely wrap my head around what happened, even though the date was circled on my calendar, planned for and witnessed by me. How do you come to terms with the complete and utter dismantling of someone else’s processions, the accumulation of things that made their house their home? I thought I had accepted the need to do so. It wasn’t my choice, it was decided by the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, the need for round-the-clock care and the realities of how much that care costs. I may be the one responsible for carrying out the orders, but none of this is my choice. Other options have been exhausted and there are few choices left.
I knew the day was coming, I knew the house would be emptied and I know what empty means. But how empty feels – that’s what wells up inside me and causes the hot tears to fall. It feels raw and tight. It isn’t just emotional pain, though it is that too. It is a physical ache, deep in my center, obscured by all the memories each item stirs. Each item that is carried away is a memory and it is an ironic twist of fate that as memories are lost to this disease, the belongings that stir the memories go, too.
As I stood in the silent, hollow home, shadows chased me and pictures in my head swallowed me whole. I could hear lively Italian music playing and smell the rich, spicy tomato sauce burbling on the stove. I could see us all sitting around the table, sharing Red Rose tea and shortbread cookies with lemon. I could touch the bricks and be warmed by the fire in the fireplace, and the Christmas tree sparkling and festive in the corner by the door.
And then I am standing in the vacant house again, nothing but dog hair and dust around me.
Time will make things better and ease the raw, rough edges. Right now, though…. Wow. Who knew that empty could be so full?