Thursday, April 03, 2014
Karma is strange. It has always been my dream to live alone. I'm 67 and it hasn't happened yet. I've lived with parents, husbands, children, then parents and children again....but I've never lived by myself.
In November, after a couple of extremely painful years as her dementia progressed, my mother died. Her death brought both grief and freedom. For the first time, I had no one to take care of, no one to account to. There was no television playing in the background when I preferred silence. I could play my music as loud as I wanted. I could eat a bagel for supper if I chose.... I could take a cozy nap whenever I pleased. I could leave the house and not worry about getting back at any particular time.
I spent a week with my kids in Florida after Mom's death. Another week after I got back, my son and his wife separated and he came home. Now there are always dishes in the sink and screwdrivers and drills on my pristine dining room table and the television is once again is a constant in the background. The pretty little spare bedroom I re-decorated is filled with work out equipment. I cook at least once a day. Out of courtesy, I tell him where I'm going and when I plan to be back....not because he demands it but so he won't worry.
If you get the impression that I didn't love my mother dearly or that I don't cherish my son, you be dead wrong. I did and I do....just as I loved my husbands. But here is the way it is: in any human chain I'm part of, I'm the weak link. I'm the easy-going one. I'm the one who will give in first whether it's about what television show to watch or what sounds good for dinner or where to hang a picture or whether to buy Pepsi or Coke. It's not like I lose the arguments because it never gets that far. I don't care enough to argue so if you prefer Coke, I'll switch...no big deal.
I have always said that my family members are There with a capital T while I am there with a small t. And in a little secret place in my heart, I always looked forward to the time when it would be different. Mom was a hoarder and since she's gone, I have given away most of her 1,000 dolls and many teapots (keeping only a few of my favorites). Shelves now hold one special thing instead of ten items each. The oval, brass-framed Thomas Kinkaide pictures, along with the angels, have disappeared in favor of less sentimental, edgier art.
But now, instead of her stuff, there is his stuff - tennis shoes under the end table and hats and gloves on the piano and drills and tape measures on the kitchen counter and piles of jeans and flannel shirts and socks and teeshirts in the laundry basket.
No one would ever have called me an immaculate house keeper but I have found that when I'm alone, I am actually rather a perfectionist. I put things where I want them and they stay that way....no clutter allowed. Who knew?
When I was looking for a picture to illustrate this blog entry, I had a difficult time finding one I liked. It seems that when you search for images using the keyword "alone", most of them are negative. They tend toward darkness and it is often raining. The people in them all look sad, sometimes they are ready to jump off of bridges.
But to me, being alone is a happy place. Being alone is being a free spirit.