Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Creating a Home

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.


  1. Oh, this made me smile and cry at the same time and it made me miss my mother! You have learned well how to love. This perfect line will stay with me - "I just transferred the love...and the rest fell into place."

  2. Lovely post. Nice illustrations. It's always difficult when parents reach a certain time in their lives as you never like to think of them as any older. The important thing is that your Mum has your love and support.

  3. Hopefully once you and your mum have personalised the room she will get used to it and accept it a bit more.

  4. Hugs to you and your Mum Marion, on this new journey.


  5. Nice details.You know the real meaning of LOVE.God Bless you.

  6. This is a wonderful post, Marion, and I am so pleased that your mother has now moved into a home which you think is right for her. I know that this was your wish. It isn't easy for us to see our parents become so limited in their final years. They are embarked on a difficult path, one which they never consciously chose but which the way of things held in store. All we can do is make that path - and the slow goodbye - as comfortable as we can. I can tell from your post that this is what you are doing.

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. I love your writing and have put in a link to yours.

  7. Marion, you may not be able to make your mom feel at home in her room but in your heart is where she will find the comfort she seeks. She may not be able to express this verbaly. Just notice her eyes and feel the energy that comes from her when you pour the love inside your field into hers. You will notice that a certain kind of knowing will enter your mothers spirit and together you and she will talk the talk of love. You will feel her presence in all that you do for her and you will know she knows.

  8. I think Your loving heart is the best house, the warm and lovely house your mother can ever have.

    The illustrations are nice too

  9. Marion,
    My Mom is in a retirement villa, a tad different, but still not what she considered, at first, her home. She has been there for about three years now and loves it! Her facility has three stages. When the time comes for her to need some daily attention she moves to the next complex. Knowing she is well taken care of has eased her children's minds. And we all know that love has no other home anywhere but in our hearts.

  10. Pauline, your opinion means a lot to me, thank you!

    Naomi, when I see my mother in my dreams, she always looks as if she's around thirty or're right, it is difficult to see her as she is now.

    Davem, thank you, I think Mom has realized it is where she has to be. She will go through a mourning period, and after that, she will take more interest in her surroundings.

  11. Tea, thank you for your hugs...always appreciated!

    Thank you, Surjit!

    Simon,I am a big fan of your site, also! Thank you for understanding how Mom is traveling was difficult for me to realize that all I could do was make her journey as comfortable as I could.

  12. Dave, thank you for the advice...I tried it, and you are so right! That certain kind of knowing and energy coming from her when I tried it was amazing!

  13. Thank you, Thulasi, for visiting and I agree with you!

    Lorna, knowing my mother is well cared for certainly eases my mind, as well. My hope for her is that she will become well enough to partake of all the activities and meet other people in her complex. She would so enjoy it!

  14. I'm glad to see that your mother is finally somewhere safe, and a place you are pleased with. I'm late commenting, so all I really need to say is ditto to all the other comments LOL.

  15. I just read somewhere, about amnesia and other problems that affect memory, that those who lose memory also lose the ability to imagine or visualize. That, to me, would be the saddest loss of all.

    Blessings to you and your mom.

  16. Yes moving home whether it is into a mansion or a tiny room can be distressful but as I have moved so much in my adult life I have learnt that as long as I move with a few favorite ornaments, pictures and books I can make each place I live in feel like home very quickly.