Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jog
On another level I was used to central air in my apartment; Mother's house had two window units and this was Texas in July. I know it could be worse (I grew up in that house, so I dealt with it once), but it only takes a few summers with central air to convince you not to go back. The third, but by no means final, obstacle I remember dealing with, was the boxes. There were boxes everywhere. I had just condensed two households into one. True I was a single man, but I had already collected most of the basic furniture and accoutrements we latch onto. I worked in a clothing store so there was plenty of that. And the books. Oh my, there were books. I love books, so there were lots of books. My books were my children and God had blessed my quiver.
On top of the fact that I had pretty well pampered myself for the last several years, I still had to get used to the little oddities that Mother had developed since living alone. I slowly began to realized how much Mother had come through over the last few years since Daddy had passed on.
When my father died, I knew that Mother was going through a bit of a trial, but I had not known how much of one. Mother came from a good southern family of 13 children, when she married Daddy and very promptly had her first of three children. Daddy was from a smaller clan of only 9 children, but with a never ending line of nieces and nephews and cousins to help raise, Mother was never really lonely, or at least not alone, I suspect. I had been the only kid at home since about the age of eight. After getting out on my own and learning to live as such, I had somewhat come to terms with the idea of being alone and the occasional feelings of loneliness. If I ever really felt it, I just got out of the house. It didn't always have to be with other people. Sometimes just long walks in the outdoors was all I needed. And of course when I became a Christian I spent time with God, and there were times when that couldn't be beat.
Ah, there I go talking about myself again. Back to mom. After a lifetime of family, she had never really been alone until she was widowed after years of marriage. Going through books of hers, later on, which dealt with depression, I realized how rough it must have been on her. Like any grieving widow I suppose, but I had never known it. She had always been good ole' strong Mom. I even admit now that I, being a selfish bastard, had not had much pity for her. I remember thinking, "Well, Mother, at least you had love once; I have always been alone. Get used to it." I do feel pretty heartless now, but everyone's hell is different.
Aside from being the grieving widow, being older and alone, she had become quite fearful. Again it was only after moving back that I saw this. When I first broached the subject of moving back in with her, I thought that she would object; but instead she seemed to brighten at the prospect. Once I was there and was trying to settle in over the next few months, I saw some of the reasons she relished the idea of not being by herself anymore. She had always been conscious of locking doors and windows, but now she would even prop chairs up against doors, like you see in the movies, and she would not open the windows for fear of intruders. This was in the heat of summer, remember. Her house was an old one, by our standards out here in the heartland, that still used a skeleton key for some of the locks. I also admit that this was an older part of town very close to some areas where even I would hesitate to walk alone at night. It took awhile, but I convinced her that she was not alone, she was safe; and to be sure, I had the old doors and locks replaced. I think she gradually began to feel less fearful.
other thoughts another time ~ rachman