The End

I never imagined going through someones things could be this hard and frustrating. The hard part is understandable, the frustrating hit me. My mother in law was a hoarder, she kept every little piece of fabric she ever worked with. She would take a dress she made and re configure it to something new the remnants of which were all tucked away.

She would never buy pants, she would make them, the best was her nightgown. She would take t-shirts from her sons and add on the mid section from other t-shirts until they were long enough. I sit back at think why? Why would you not go out and buy a nightgown? When she immigrated here from Italy, she had to work hard for everything she had, saved every penny to buy their first home and put money away for her kids education. As the years went on, they were able to purchase investment properties, go on annual vacations and breath, but she still had that old mentality that if she could make it why buy it. I get that, but in the end, what did it do?

After my father in law passed, she continued to work for my husband and I and I told her to stop and live her life, go visit her family in Italy for a few months. She did, and that is when CBD started to show it's face.

In reality, we all wait for tomorrow, we wait to travel, we can do that when we retire...we wait to visit old friends...they will be there tomorrow....we wait to spend time with the ones we love...afterall they will be there for a while....we wait, only to find out we ran out of time...

It has been a tough week, we went to Jamaica 3 days after we burried her, the trip was booked and the entire family encouraged us to go, the trip was booked a few weeks ago when everything was 'normal'. Her condo is being rented, something we 'waited' to do...somehow we thought she would come back home from the nursing home. Funny the way you think, moving 50 years of someones life is hard, especially when you know all the things she held dear no longer matter to her now.

I kept a few things, meaningless to someone else, but so important to me...She had an orange and white dressing gown from the cottage, every morning she would wear it while she had her coffee....we made fun of her it is awful....for some reason now I love it, so I kept it.

She also gave me her engagement ring, since I married the eldest son I could pick from her 25th anniversary ring ($$$$) or her engagement ring. I chose the engagement ring I call it the cupcake ring it is small very dainty but it started her married life with my father in law so it meant something. I got is sized and wear it everyday....

The end arrived for here on this earth, but I believe she is right beside us all.

Bye Ma

18 Replies

  • As usual, Paola, there is so much in what you write, both of homely, loving life and the big philosophical questions. Thanks for sharing. Love and peace, Ec

  • So deep so true Thank you Paola, for your perspective....Makes me feel like I knew her .


  • When I read your post it reminds me of someone , ( its me) must try and sort out whats not really needed.... cannot bring myself to get rid of little items given to me by my children...they have memories that will last the rest of my life. Also we found our old school reports and small items of sewing which go back to the 1940 s ,when my mums house was sold .l think its some thing we must all do .its the era we lived in...its lovely. ..Brenda

  • Brenda

    I am the same. Usually cards! Birthday cards and Christmas cards especially. I am sure we all have something? Something that others would wonder at? Like my China tea set I have never used! Why bother keeping it if I am never going to use it?

    Marie x

  • Tea sets , I forgot about them I have 5 sets .rangeing from the 50s to the 80s .last year my sisters gave me my mums .they said you collect tea sets, so you can take mums.its been put in the sideboard ,till now I forgot about it.The girls will have a field day sorting my china cabnets out....brenda

  • Brenda

    I have my Mother's and my aunt's too! Can't part with them! Silly isn't it?

    Marie x

  • Paola when did your Mother in law die? I don't think I was aware of it. Or maybe it's this fog I am in that makes me think I didn't know?

    I have nothing sorted. Maybe because we are still waiting for the funeral? Or maybe because there is nobody to help so I sit frozen by inaction every day. Today was the first day that I cried properly. I felt so alone and can't sort anything out without crying now!

    My daughter is just around the corner but she doesn't bother coming to see me or check I am still alive. My son is back at work but helps with shopping and practical things. He is becoming angry that his sister won't do anything. He told me to ring her and tell her to come and help. I can't though. I feel I am a burden to her, although in truth if anything it has been the other way around!

    Sorry that is the last thing you wanted to hear! One thing I will say however is if you have ever been poor it never leaves you. I don't think I was poor but we certainly had to watch the penny's. So I always tried to save. It is only in latter years I thought why? Sadly I didn't realise sooner that life was passing faster than I thought. So many things undone in our lives because I made sure the children had what they needed and then the grandchildren. I do regret that now. I stupidly wanted them to have what I didn't when I was newly married or when I was a child. Now I realise Garry and I should have gone on more holidays.

    He really wanted to go back to Italy 3 years ago but my daughter refused to take time off from work. We used to take care of our Grandson at the time. I can't afford to feel bitter but it really hurts that we stupidly let her deprive us of that holiday.

    Gosh I am feeling sorry for myself today. Thinking of Heady buried under her blanket. That's what I really want to do! Maybe I should? Haven't done anything like that yet. I have been brave for everyone else. Stupid again!

    Keep that ring and dressing gown safe always! Your Mother-in-law must be so delighted you have them. She sounds like a lovely woman you know? The kind of Mamma everyone wants. I bet she made her own pasta from scratch too? By the way, where in Italy did she come from? We loved to go there. Love to you Paola. Wish I had a daughter-in-law like you.

    Marie x

  • Hi Marie

    Sorry for not responding sooner, I have been off everything for a while. Thank you for caring about me and my situation when your in the middle of your own hell. My mother in law dies Feb 17, it was quick and painless for her but we are still trying to fit the pieces together for our lives. Lost, is the best word that vomes to mind.

    I am sorry for your situation, I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through. The only person you had to be brave for was your husband, now it is time for you to be selfish. DO what you have always wanted to do, with no regrets or remorse. Think only of you, because in the end YOU have to be happy.

    My mother in law was always thinking of her husband and making him happy, it's the Italian way. She never thought of doing anything for herself until he passed, then CBD hit.

    I am a mother too, and I know kids can be selfish, BUT they will only do to us what we allow them. Introduce them know the new Marie, the one that loves them dearly but is now doing what she wants.

    I proudly wear her engagement ring every day, my daughter took the robe and has it hung on her mirror in her bedroom.

    My mother in law was born in Basilicata in southern Italy, she hated to cook and everyone knew it BUt sewing was per passion. My parents are from Venice and I am going this summer for a few weeks to visit my family....I'm living for today and saving a little for tomorrow. I have learned this lesson from so many people that have passed and not fulfilled their dreams.

    My father in law always wanted a Cadillac, every year he would say "I don't need it now I'll wait till next year" so this fall I am buying a Cadillac SUV just because......

    Keep your chin up, with every passing day your able to move more, breath more and smile a little more

    Love P

  • Paola

    Found your post at last! Was beginning to think I had imagined it! Anything is possible at present.

    Venice is so lovely. Garry and I used to go to Malchesine. So then Verona and Venice were not far. Have been at a conference in Soave too. From there I went to a lot of places. Vicenza and the theatre there, the opera at Verona. The first Palladian Villa in the middle of the countryside. The Cathedral where St Anthony is buried. The amazing paintings of Gioto. Not enough time to see them properly though. Have been to Senigalia too. Amazing beach!

    Went to Rome for a week but needed so much more time. I totally love Italy and am so jealous that you are going there. If I renew my passport I could go somewhere but it feels like another job at present!

    Have a lovely time in your beautiful country! Go on the lagoon and feel the wind in your hair and think of me! Loved that! You need a break and can't think of a better place.

    Marie x

  • Hi Marie

    You kow the song "I left my heart in San Francisco?" well a piece of mine is in Venice and every time I fly in I shed a tear.

    Visiting my family is wonderful, most of my cousins are there 17 cousins thier wives and kids and an uncle and aunt from my mothers side. I also have my husbands Godfather that lives in Treviso just outside of Venice so there is a lot to do when I arrive.

    There is somethig magical that happens when I fly over Venice proper, a kind of "I'm home" feeling that I cannot explain, funny for someone that talks a lot I cannot really explain thing properly.

    If my daughter comes with me I will do some touring, maybe Florence and Rome this time. A friend of mine has private sittings with the Pope, too long of a story to get into but he does this 4-5 times a year and he invited me to attend morning mass at the Vatican and a possible meeting with the Pope. I am giddy just thinking about it but I have to get the dates ironed out. Just the mass would be a serious dent in my bucket list.

    I have not confirmed anything as of yet, there is a lot going on at home too so I wait to decide.

  • Paola

    You must go! If you have never been inside St Peter's it is an amazing experience. We kept being drawn back to it. We even climbed to the dome. Quite an experience but would never do it again. We went to an audience with the then Pope. Very moving.

    It is really funny but when we were in Rome people thought I was Italian. Must be the dark hair? Anyway my Italian is limited to what I learnt in a phrase book for about 3 weeks before going to Rome. It was so funny but the English people on the trip were convinced I could speak Italian. I wish! I just spoke a few words thanks to the phrase book.

    Even Garry thought I was lying when I went to speak to two of the Vatican police to ask them a question. He thought I had asked them in English but I decided to be brave and asked in Italian. Trouble is they replied in Italian and very quickly but I managed to get the information I wanted from a few words I understood!

    My Granddaughter's other Nonna is married to an Italian man. I have been nagging her to get them to teach her Italian but it's not working.

    I took her for a meal to an Italian restaurant and after a while I said:" they think I am Italian". She laughed and said:" no they don't". Then the waiter came with the food and asked if he could ask me something. I said of course and he asked if I was Italian! I wished I could have taken a photograph of my Granddaughter's face! He told me my pronunciation of Italian is very good! Made my day! Maybe I was Italian in a previous life?

    So start planning that trip! You can then tell us all about it? You could even send us photo's if beautiful Rome and Venice?

    Take care Paola.

    Marie x

  • Can relate to all the posts! I am a hoarder too. Clearing up was something that kept me going for a while. Have made lots of people happy (me too) giving my hoard of material away. Now have an empty garage, and 2messy rooms! And not a lot of incentive to do more. Have got to the personal and antique stuff that I realize means nothing to the family as they did not know the people involved so likely will sell stuff! So have some conversations and hard decisions to make!

    My lovely man bought stuff and barely used it! So have clunky tape video camera, editing machine, etc to make decision on too! Kids already have anything of his that was up to date!

    So I am off for a break! And I have picked the worst storm on record in Coromandel to go there on Monday! I hope! At least I can help others with clean up if necessary as have friends in area!

    Thinking of you all!

    Hugs to all

    Jen xxx

  • I understand every word you have said. My sister and I had to clear mum and dad's house after they died. It was horrendous as you say everything was kept.

    Take care

  • I enjoyed reading your post Paula and was moved by it . Thank you

    Jude xx

  • Paola, Thank you so much for sharing your mother-in-law and her story with us. "We all wait for tomorrow"... truer words were never spoken. It's wonderful that you see it from "our perspective" For many, there will be no tomorrow...sick or otherwise. How many of us have asked the question... where did the time go? Your words should require some sober second thought on the part of most of us as difficult as it can be. Your mother-in-law is most definitely in a better place, she is now free of disease and earthly constraints... she has earned her wings. Blessings xx

  • What a sweet story full of treasures and memories. I'm a hoarder too and have to learn to let go. My kids let me know they don't want "my stuff", just "my bank account". Kids!


  • Dear pzagy,what a lovely picture you painted of your M in law. She was an incredible person by the sound of it, and you are an incredible daughter in law! She was lucky to have you. Hope you enjoy/ have enjoyed your holiday. X

  • And she is.

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