A couple weekends ago I went to Mom’s house to clean for the day. I will stay overnight in the future. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, but I can see that I’m better off spending the night.
My main goals were to winterize the house and clean out all the usable non-perishable food and donate it to the food bank before the holidays. I also needed to pick up the things I knew we forgot and anything else we should have taken but didn’t.
I also had a small list of things to look for. If you’ve ever spent time around a person with dementia, you know the person will hide things. Mom doesn’t exactly hide her stuff. It’s more like she moves it because she believes it belongs somewhere else.
One of the things she moved was the photo album. All the pictures in it pre-date my life. Some Dad developed himself and colorized. We found some old pictures in a box in the upstairs hall, but we haven’t found the rest. For all I know we could have moved them with her, tucked away in some drawer or her cedar chest. Then again maybe not.
So after I did all that needed done, I spent about an hour looking for those pictures. I didn’t find them, but I did find a box of drawings.
My Dad did them before I was born. I never even knew he drew. Aside from helping me with a school project or two, I never saw him sketch anything non-work related. Because Dad was what he was, most the inspiration pictures were in the box, along with the book he used to teach himself.
I’m thrilled to have found the drawings, but at the same time I feel a touch of sadness in realizing that I didn’t know Dad as well as I thought I did. The more we clean out the house, the more I learn about my parents’ lives. Some of it comes from being the youngest child, but some of it is a mystery to my sisters as well.
Now when I go, I will expect the unexpected. God only knows what I’ll find in that house. I can only hope that most of it will bring the same slow smile to my face that the drawings did.