Friday, March 11, 2016

Going through stuff

Mom, like most people, knew that anything, good or bad, can happen to any of us at any time however she always imagined that the 'bad' things laid somewhere in the distant future. She unfortunately found out otherwise after Mabel made her presence known.

Knowing that her time on earth was limited, Mom began to go through her 'stuff' and rid herself of anything she deemed irrelevant or useless. Always efficient and thinking of others, she wanted to lighten our load once she was gone. The side effect from sifting through her belongings was that it stirred up memories and brewed new stories. A gift from Mabel? Perhaps since Mom always stressed when I'd ask her questions about the past.

Mom asked me to take a picture of this dishcloth when I visited her in January. It turns out that it belonged to my grandmother. Mom saved it after Oma died and loved using it. She seemed especially proud of the little holes - a sign that the dish cloth had served us well.

I can just hear Mom pondering about the dish cloth's life. How many dishes, glasses, pots, pans and cutlery has this cloth come in contact with? How many times was it used to polish the stove top, the fridge door, or the kitchen table until they sparkled? What conversations did it witness as Oma, my mother, my brother or my sister cleaned up after a meal? It certainly isn't the cloth of Turin but it definitely has a meaningful life of its own.

Mom was impeccable when it came to housekeeping. Dishes had to be washed in the hottest water possible but they didn't have to be immediately dried and put away unless there was company present or expected. She always used dish gloves and only a certain brand name was allowed to protect her hands. Mom also had a favourite sponge brand which came in a large block and she'd cut it up into appropriate dish washing size. I loved how that sponge retained the dish wash liquid and had told her so. Of course, when I visited last, she had bought me the exact same sponge!

Who would have thought that a simple ordinary sponge would delight me so much but then ... it was just like Mom to remember the small things and thoughtfully do something unexpected.  Mom specialized in delighting people with small thoughtful acts that showed how she cared about us.


Note #1: Mom began this post with the title and the photo but never had a chance to write it.

Note #2: Oh oh ... I see that the post shows as being written by Ellena. I've set myself up as an admin so I don't understand why the post is not showing as me having written it. Does anyone know how I can correct this?

Note #3: Ah ha!  I think I know why it's showing under Mom's name!   It's because the post had been started by her!  I'll know better for the next time!


Lucy said...

Beauty in the detail, I like the bit about the sponge!

I'm so glad you and Ellena set things up so you could continue here. Other times with people who have died it's been left in the air, with no easy way for anyone to access the blog directly, clean off spam comments etc which is rather sad and unsatisfactory.

Trish said...

So true Lucy. I hadn't thought about it that way. It is rather sad when a blog just stops and nobody knows why. I was fortunate that Mom trusted me and had shared ALL her passwords with me many years ago. She knew I'd never abuse it and that I'd respect her space and privacy.

I'm happy to add short stories to her blog. It's soothing and allows me to share Mom from another perspective. I certainly could not fill her shoes and I wonder what she'd think right now as I add stories to her blog.

Ellena had an enchanting way of noticing or remembering life's details. She expressed herself in a simple and straight forward manner with an aura of innocence that revealed so much about her. Mom spoke English very well yet she struggled with her writing thinking it wasn't enough of this or that. Sadly she never realized how enchanting, descriptive and soulful it was.

Rouchswalwe said...

Hallo Trish! My heart did a little flip when I saw your post this morning. I've been thinking a lot of you and your dearest Mama, especially since Ellena's birthday is coming up.

The dishtowel design is the same as the ones my mother used her whole life. She liked red, but there is one green and one yellow one among the half-dozen I was able to rescue. Yes, there are little holes and the seams are a bit frayed on her favourites.

And this is the wonder, the enchantment, of these items that move through the generations. They add a pinch of bittersweet to the day. Ellena knew this. How wonderful that her daughter knows and appreciates it, too.

So happy that you're writing here!

Halle said...

Thank you for this post Trish. So very much like your mother's but with a style that I love in a new way.

I have been looking for your next offering here with anticipation.

Tom said...

Thank you for this, Trish. I did so enjoy this dip into some little details of Ellena's life. As with Lucy, I loved the details about the washing up sponge, and the water needing to be the hottest possible but the crockery not needing to be dried straightaway. Those little details bring a person's life into sharp focus once again.

Sabine said...

This is a very German dish towel, incl. holes. I just checked, we have six like it, all with holes. Thank you for this post. I can think of Ellena doing the dishes now when I do mine.

Trish said...

Oh my! What lovely words and thoughts coming this way, No wonder Mom enjoyed her blogging community! It is so easy to miss the little things around us unless we purposely slow down our pace, remind ourselves to pay attention to our surroundings or be subject to a life altering event. I often vacillate between being very cerebral where all kinds of thoughts occupy my mind and being 'in the moment'. Readings Mom's blog and your comments fills me with moments I miss. All I can say is that her passing is unveiling so many aspects of life that I neglected and buried for fear of becoming vulnerable. Lately I have embraced being vulnerable and it is so liberating ... Thank you to all and especially to Ellena.

Roderick Robinson said...

Of course she wore gloves to protect her hands. She needed them in fine fig for the keyboard and that love-hate relationship she said she had with it. In fact she was fibbing, it was all love plus a lot of hard work. The dish-cloth's as good a memorial as any; utilitarian and capable of giving good service. There was a lot more to Ellena than that, but they'll do for starters.

Trish said...

Rouchswalwe ... I've looked up your profile and your blog but can't figure out how to follow you! Is there a secret door somewhere?