shuffling, sorting, filing

Perhaps it’s the wind, the gusty, unrelentless wind that’s been blowing with all its might ALL night. Or perhaps it’s the sorting of “stuff” (fondly??? known as stuff, though in reality it’s piles and piles and piles and boxes and boxes of seemingly neverending papers and things that once belonged to others) that I’ve been trying to chip away at for the past 2 years. I’ve posted before, many times, about my attempts to get through all the stuff that I inherited when mum died all that long, long 4 years and 9 months ago.

This month really seems to have been a month of organising for me. Physically and metaphorically.

I’ve been awake here for hours. Since way before it’s “normal” to wake. Since before, even, Miss Tilly asked politely to be let out for her morning ablutions. I’ve been trying desperately to fall back to sleep but that wind just keeps blowing. I keep imagining trees falling on our roof and thoughts with no rhyme nor reason skip through my head, like the leaves on the wind. This is why I blog. To get those thoughts OUT. I have no sense of committment to a daily personal journal, what’s the point? Who is my audience? With my blog though, I know there’s at least a couple of you out there who read and that’s enough for me. It’s not the need for approval, nor the need for acceptance, more just the accountability knowing that there is probably someone who comes back for more. YOU keep me writing. Thank you.

I’m sure with all this sorting too, it’s bringing up all the stuff that wakes me at odd hours.

The thoughts of that very last minute, that very last breath, in that small, pristine hospital room where I sat, knowing that Dad, Amanda and Stu were all just a room away, waiting… waiting… silently waiting. Of those wrinkled, shut down hands of hers that I keep seeing folded neatly on top of the folded-back neatly crisp white sheet, just the way I, as a nurse would have folded a dying patient’s hands and sheet. I keep seeing and feeling them in my own, full of life but no longer nursing, hands and they remind me, at odd hours of the night.

I’ve never spoken this before but those folded hands and sheet, put there by another nurse, were what I wanted to do for my mum in her last hours. As I slept in fits and starts in the patient lounge, shocked into wakefullness by the ward buzzer (you nurses out there know what I mean) at odd times, the nurses quietly went about their job, leaving me, the daughter, with nothing to do but to be woken, finally at 0630ish, by a kindly voice saying “you’d better go into your mum now”, nothing to do but be a daughter and wait, to wait for the breathing to stop. I hated being just a daughter then. I missed that moment in death when a person “goes”. There’s a moment when all spirit and life passes somewhere. Those of us who sit and wait beyond that only see what’s left and it’s in that moment of “passing” that you actually get to believe. In something. I didn’t get that moment – I was too busy asleep. So I wake now, at odd hours, waiting……

All the sorting started again recently with my “workshop folder” – just a simple white, two hole binder which is broken into three sections. One for my Mixed Media group (2nd friday of the month here ), one for half day workshops and the third for full days – you didn’t come here to read about a folder though did you??? My folder (which by the way, if lost will cause such catastrophic panic that the past month will suddenly seem so, so obsolete…) has started a flurry of activity and the little voice inside my head (what? only one??? in this gemini head, there must be more….) yells LOUDLY, “don’t stop yet, you’re nearly done….. keep going!!!”.

So, I’ve been sorting. Moving boxes, lifting piles of paper, moving my bones from a cold, cafe painted, blue concrete floor to an old wooden step stool with gardeners kneeling pad just perfect for bum comfort (thank you Amanda – it IS very useful if not in the garden!!) I’ve been sorting… bank statements, insurance stuff, birth certificates, stuff for future journalling – ahhh that’s where that LA newspaper went with all its Superbowl excitement, photos – of now but mainly of then – and oh, aren’t there some beauties there!!! There’s boxes of unopened mail, I thought I got through all of them last time, and then there’s little bits of beauty.

(ed’s note 0718am first magpie of the day…. its a miracle she can stand on her perch without being blown away this morning!!)

This little treasure is a metal pin cushion box. When I opened the lid, the contents spoke a million words.

From the top of my hand down are some of my great auntie Ena’s treasures. A copper bangle with teeny tiny stones embedded all around, a Presbyterian church badge (EA has an amazing story of life with the YWCA and the Presbyterian church which I’ll get around to telling some time soon), the beautiful mother of pearl bird brooch, another brooch with m.o.p inlay, turquoise studded gold heart shaped charm (not a locket sadly) and the E.A name tag which I can only assume was with her in the nursing home where she lived till she died. Auntie Ena was a treat. She had the best stories and told funny little ditties. Her version of mealtime “grace” always had us in fits, my all time favourite as a child was the “2,4,6,8, bog in don’t wait” version. All that special, full, full life, in one box…… wow.

I was filling in time at the shop the other day. Browsing through the “studio” edition put out by those at Cloth Paper Scissors, or Quilting Arts…. whatever, and came across what I would call a somewhat “perfect” studio. There were shelves, shelves and more shelves. Under and over work bench space and filled with boxes which in turn, I’m sure were filled with neatly organised “stuff”. My friend Mandy scoffed, “it’s too neat” she said, and she’s right. It IS too neat to be a REAL studio but I need to get to that level of neatness (if only in my head) before I can clear all this “stuff” that’s bogged me down for such a long time. So, I’m off again…. the sun is up now. When I started typing this it was dark. Dark and windy and eeeuuuuuuuuuwwwww. And COLD! I’m so, so cold that I need to start sorting….. I wonder what will come up next in the odd hours???

oh and one more thing…… check THIS out……. that’s me there, I’m a favourite!!!!

and another? this song, heard recently on an episode of Bones seems quite fitting…..


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8 Responses to shuffling, sorting, filing

  1. Megan P says:

    I am one that loves to visit, usually quietly. thankyou for sharing such heartfelt thoughts. Megan

  2. enchantedcurious says:

    Ok you should really be handing out boxes of tissues, or at least a hankie with this one.

  3. katie says:

    oh dear samm…i’ve got many similar in a sort memories, those of my mother’s last days in hospice. the hands, yes i totally see my mothers hands in my own sometimes…it’s always a shock. i did happen to be present at her moment of passing, my dad did not…all things are the way they are meant to be, find comfort in those beautiful hands xoxox

  4. Bek Vavic says:

    Beautifully written Samm.

  5. Jacky says:

    A sad post Samm. I wish you had been able to be with your mum when she passed. I lost my mum when I was 34 and it was a shock to suddenly have no parents. Our mums are such a huge part of our life….. we feel so adrift at sea without them.
    I hope that you can sleep soundly again soon Samm.

    Jacky xox

  6. Hi Sam,
    I’ve had a lovely read through several of your posts. Enjoyed them all.
    This one in particular has meaning for me. I have a whole room filled with boxes with mother’s papers and it’s amazing what I have found.
    It’s such a long process because these things need to be savoured and thought about.
    I too was there for my mother’s passing. It was a strange thing; and I’m very glad I was the one there, holding her hand as she left. Dear mom!
    Blessings on you,

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