Spring Cleaning

21 Jun

I spent yesterday cleaning: a true Spring cleaning – one day prior to summer. I didn’t make the connection about this until after the fact. Nor did I realize I haven’t properly purged my house of “things” since my mom died almost a year ago (the anniversary is July 18th). 

I do however distinctly remember the last time my house truly looked a mess. It was the Monday after the weekend of my mom’s memorial service. After dropping my last relative off at the airport, I arrived home. I had been staying with other people in a house infinitely more aesthetic and spacious than my own, so my living quarters felt as tight and cramped as my heart. Into an already overcrowded space, I carried in plants, the cedar box that had held my mom’s ashes, cards, items from my mom’s apartment and a suitcase. I then sat down and proceeded to cry as I anticipated the love and support that had literarily held me through the week recede like after high tide. I now had to stand alone in grief like a toddler put down after being held too long by her parents. I wanted back “up!” 

Miraculously and creatively, I found places for all the “stuff.” The cedar box that once held my mom’s ashes became the keepsake container for the plethora of cards I received, including my mom’s suicide note that came five days before I received news of her death. I cherish how the box gives me quick access to memories of support and an abundance of love.

Since that time, I have been on a see-saw, bumped between periods of extreme grief or extreme vitality. In-between, cleaning remained off the radar; a low priority until about a month ago when I looked around and noticed (in disgust) the clutter that had accumulated. Piles of books on my desk, couch, floor, laundry basket… stacks of writings and papers about the same – the look of a mad professor or sloth bohemian. Even my kitchen seemed out of whack. Fairly domestic most of my life, I felt ashamed. So, yesterday, it was time to dig in.

The result: A bag of clothes and two boxes of books went to the Good Will along with an unused fax machine and excess strands of Christmas lights. My bulletin board is near empty as are the baskets I keep for magazines and newspapers. The clutter in my head, once an overcrowded waste basket has been taken out to the trash.

Cleaning: it helps us sift through the old, the new, things valued and the junk. It helps us make space for what is to come. Like a pregnant woman, I look forward to the new arrival.

One Response to “Spring Cleaning”

  1. Kevin Brangwynne June 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    Hi Lise! Great post…always nice to “refresh” your surroundings, isn’t it? I was sorry to read about your mom, though…I’ll pray for you as you continue to process that and for whatever that “new arrival” may be.

Leave a Reply