I've just started a massive cleaning/purging of my house, which is badly needed. I'm not to the point where I need to call in a cleaning show, but it's not great either. I'm trying to be relentless when throwing and donating and selling, but it's hard. Things of sentimental value that are just clutter...what does one do with them? I know they are not the person and not the memory. But I also don't want to end up in a house full of clutter and trash either.
I made the hard decision to throw out the roses from my dad's memorial service. I have two vases that the flowers were in, and those are useful (and used). My friend, who is helping, took a few petals and saved those in a shadow box with a butterfly picture because she thought I should have kept them.
I found a little decorative plate my dad gave me, with a bird on it. For some reason I turned it over. And there was a note on the back. Obviously it's always been there and maybe I read it before, but it surprised me to see my dad's handwriting. There is nothing overtly affectionate in the note, which says: "Made by Bavano of Cheshire. Brumm enameled copper. Originally made about 30 years ago in Cheshire. Hand signed by the artist." It's the thought behind it, that not only did he buy me this pretty little bird plate, but he took the time to write down its history. That's how my dad showed affection, he didn't go around hugging and kissing people or leaving mushy notes.
Do I need this plate? It is not useful. It is clutter. It is a dust catcher. But it's cute. And it has a note from my dad on the back.
The plate stays.
And since I had the note, I looked up the company. I think it's Bovano. There is nothing like this plate on their website but it seems to be a similar process.
My father's 1253-day journey through Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and my feelings about it. All material is copyrighted by Gevera Bert Piedmont (except where noted and where quoted from other sources); please do not repost without permission.
"The cost of Alzheimer's? Everything you ever owned, everything you ever thought you would get, and things you never even thought about."
"It's a long, slow slide into oblivion, with no brakes."
"If this was a paper journal, the ink would be running with tears."
"Imagine a really beautiful, perfect statue, left out in the wind and rain for centuries, to be worn away, until it’s only retained the shape of a person, not any of the individuality. That’s what Alzheimer’s did to my father. It wore him away, all the sharp edges and crisp points that made him Bob, who loved his family and his pets and his raspberry bushes, and turned him into a fearful person with a vague and confused stare."
"It's a nasty disease, surrounded by shadows and small, largely unseen tragedies."--Terry Pratchett
This is a reminder that Alzheimer's disease affects real people, real families. My dad wasn't a monster, just a man whose brain was slowly eaten by a terrible disease.