Weird Conversation…

I’ve been re-doing a couple of rooms in my house that have looked exactly the same for about 15-20 years. (For those who don’t know, I live in the house I was raised in as a kid…and right now is the “remodeling” stage, which will hopefully make it look less like my parents’ place, and more like MINE.) I’ve been tearing out wallpaper and carpeting this weekend. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s starting to come together. (And if the garbage company was at ALL cooperative, it’d be going much more quickly.) I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with my mother as I’ve been doing this work. That’s weird. She’s been dead for about 14 years.

If it’s any consolation, I’m not hearing her replies to the things I’ve been saying. I’m not nuts–at least I don’t think I am. It’s just that I’m tearing up the design-scheme she’d created. My dad probably thinks he had some input into it…but he didn’t really. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have chosen the flowery wallpaper or the southwestern theme. In fact, I’m pretty sure mom did a lot of that type of work when he was out of town–if memory serves. I’m sure he knew she was doing SOMETHING, but I doubt that he had any idea of what it would look like. Mom just did that stuff–enlisting my brother and I as unwitting help, of course (as well as my Grandma, on occasion).

My conversation with my mother over the past few days hasn’t been the teary-eyed crap you’re supposed to say…nothing like that. There’s been no “Sorry I’m ripping out your wallpaper, Mom.” No, “I know you always liked this picture, Mom…I’ll keep it safe for you.” None of that stuff… Mostly, it’s been stuff like this:

“Ugh…why’d you do THAT, Mom?!?”

“Really? Pink that just WON’T cover-over with a single primer-coat? Thanks a lot for THAT, Mom!”

“Seriously…did you even READ the instructions on hanging the wallpaper, Mom?”

“These are the worst freaking blinds I’ve ever seen, I don’t know what you were thinking.”

“Hey Mom, I found that vase we broke.”

…stuff like that…

Being that I like to remember the dead as they were (and not the idealized version they become at the wake), I’d like to think she’s yelling at me from beyond the grave, telling me I’m moving too slowly, and that I should be more careful not to get paint on the ceiling. I’d like to think she’s pissed about the vase and that she hates that I’ve gone with the colour of brown I’m using in the dining room–that she thinks it’s depressing or something. …and I’d like to think she’s said one of her all-time best criticisms of my housekeeping once or twice… “If the health department came by right now, this place would be condemned!” (She said that to me once…I think it was about my room.)

Anything less and I’ve failed.

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2 thoughts on “Weird Conversation…”

  1. Hey, thanks. I’m glad other people don’t have this Hollywood idea of the dead parents. “Gosh, you must miss him/her so much” *tears* “oh golly, I wish he/she were here right now, so I could say “I love you ma/pa” *more tears*

    We’ve been slowly cleaning out my mother’s house over the last two years. Why did you waste all that money on ugly clothes, mom? Why did you buy crappy art? It’s not an investment when I have to give it away for free, and have a hard time even finding someone to take it. And why did you date that loser, and let him leave his filing cabinet here?

    I read an article on the death of a parent being a relief for many people, yet it’s often taboo to say so. For one who hasn’t lost a parent, it’s unthinkable to be happier with your life after they are gone. But until you feel the freedom of not having to worry about mom pointing out your new zit, the fact that you smell like booze, or that you only washed 75% of the dishes… man. Life gets better, they don’t know.

  2. You raise some really valid points there. Thanks for commenting.

    I’m not really sure if my life is “better” without Mom, but I can definitly say that I can’t imagine what it would have been like with her. I don’t think I would have accomplished some of the things I have, and I don’t think I would have even been as encouraged to attempt them. My life would have been really different if mom had lived into my adulthood…as it is, I think I like how its ended up more this way than if she’d have lived…but who can say for sure?

    Anyway, yeah…thanks for saying that stuff. You hit the nail on the head, I think.

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