When the word "home" flows through my mind these days, I am instantly flooded with warm, loving energy...I know that today, my home is a cozy and safe place to be.
It was not always thus; during my first marriage, there were times my home was not safe. Those were the chaotic years, where sometimes there was not enough money to pay the utilities.
Those were the years I became very creative with ingredients, because sometimes there was little in the pantry other than condiments and pasta.
I felt anxious when I thought of the word "home" in those days. Life was far from serene and peaceful on the home front; this unsettled energy transferred itself to the inhabitants and the very home, itself.
I have lived in at least twelve different homes, during my adult years. Each time I moved, I tried to infuse the new home with the comfortable feel of the last one, never quite succeeding because of the transient nature of my life at the time.
But I lived in my last home for 18 years... and I was able to transfer its homey feel, when I moved, to my new home with ease. I just transferred the love...and the rest fell into place.
However, what happens when a move is done where it will probably be for the last time? And you are aware of it?
This is what my mother faced last week, after she moved into a Care Facility. Brand new and swanky, this home has all the bells and whistles, and best of all, has caregivers who tend their patients with love and dignity.
But my mother only sees a hospital room. It will be up to her family to decorate this skeleton of a room, which has only a bed, dresser, highboy, and her beloved recliner in it. Mom has no idea how to make it homey, because to her, this room is not something to love...this room is the last place where she will live. Because of this, her inclination is to ignore the whole idea of making this room attractive.
I want to make it into a place where she will find peace. I forget, though, that my mother's world grows smaller and smaller...the place of peace and comfort to her, now, is her bed and her recliner. I fight against recognizing this, because to do so would make me accept where she is on the path of life.
And so, I see a room filled with living things...plants and flowers. My mother, who was a brilliant gardener in her time, used to love plants and flowers. The real ones. Now she says they die, in these airless rooms. She cannot bear to watch them die.
She has impossibly bright red silk flowers, instead. They make a strong statement in an otherwise undecorated room.
I think this is how her room will evolve. She will add items that catch her eye and stir her soul. They will be mismatched; my vision of what her room should look like will be nothing like the room my mother will design, in this last part of her life.
With my mother's move, I have given myself a gift. Instead of fretting and worrying about my way, my vision...I will stand back and watch my mother, just sending peace and love to her each time I enter her room. No demands.
As she becomes more comfortable in her new way of life and her new environment, the things my mother will collect around her will touch a part of her soul I cannot know. She is traveling on, on a path I have not trodden as yet. Only she knows what tools to gather for her journey.
Last year, I was able to help Mom face Dad's death... becoming a teacher. This year, Mom will take her role back, as I watch her moving slowly and yet, so purposefully, away from me.
Creating the vision I have for her room is the last thing on her mind. She already knows this room is transient, and therefore difficult to infuse with her personality. She knows what she requires. I do not have to do it for her...
I'm learning to let her go.