A sparkling bathroom and a continued commitment to my Mum

It’s currently 5 am and I have been up for an hour.  Our dog woke me up at 3.45 needing to be let out for a night-time wee and I wasn’t able to get back to sleep.  I could feel Mum pulling me towards the computer to write a blog.  This was, after all her chosen time to be up researching and blogging and having deep and meaningful conversations with people all over the world.

It’s been nearly four months since Mum died and over three months since my last blog post.  I’ve been busy, just a little, but that’s no excuse – I’ve had the biggest case of writers block.

I know there are stories to be written along the lines of those that Mum used to write about her family.  After all, that is why she set up this blog in the first place, but they haven’t formed in my brain yet.  I hope that they do.

Nothing has really presented itself to be worthy of sharing with anyone, let alone her loyal followers who were intrigued with her blogs, touched by her honesty, inspired by her bravery and drawn in to her love of investigating and sharing her knowledge.  What could I say that would be anywhere near as interesting as that?

Well yesterday I was at Mum’s house and it hit me that I need to write.  I need to share this experience and this realisation with those that she loved.  I’m sure that some of you have been wondering how I am going, and been concerned about the silence on Mum’s blog.  It all takes time, one foot in front of the other.

So, my “aha” moment came when I was sweating and scrubbing Mum’s shower alcove. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not enjoy any aspect of cleaning, and I especially despise cleaning bathrooms.  But for me, yesterday was not about just cleaning a bathroom, I realised it was much more important than that.  It was a continuation of the bond and the love that I have for my Mum and the commitment that I made to help her with aspects of her life that she found difficult or was not able to do on her own.

Mum had been ill for a while.  She had COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder which meant that her lungs didn’t work very well at all.  This worsened earlier in the year, which now was an indication that there was something more sinister happening, as she died in July of lung cancer.

So, with her illness came the inability to do much at all physically.  Walking more than 10 steps would mean she was out of breath.  So, of course, scrubbing her shower alcove went down the list of her priorities as she conserved her energy for more meaningful things in her life.

I knew this and could see her bathroom was getting pretty grubby, but my time with her was spent on the higher priority things like “chewing the fat” whilst drinking coffee around her kitchen table, sweeping the floor, putting on and hanging out loads of washing, taking her to doctors appointments, chemist trips and phone calls to various authorities to sort out things that she was not able to handle herself.

So the shower alcove was left for another day.

That day was yesterday.

I knew that Mum would have been embarrassed by the state of her bathroom, and I know that it was my trusted position to restore some dignity to her, even after her death.

So, I covered the whole shower alcove in “Easy off Bam, bathroom” and then I began scrubbing.  And scrubbing.  And rinsing. And soaking and scrubbing.

Rather than hating it, I enjoyed the feeling that with every bit of soap scum removed, I was continuing on the commitment that I made to help her with things that she could no longer do.  There will be people coming to her house over the coming months, some that she knows well, some that she knows not very well, and some that she doesn’t know at all. She would not have wanted any of them to see the state of her bathroom as it was, but I feel so much better now knowing that is no longer the case.

I know that she is not here to be embarrassed any more about the state of her bathroom, but death does not take away your pride and your dignity and those of us that remain have the responsibility of making sure that we honour her memory by making sure that there are no sideways glances or pity parties about how ill she was and how tough she did it, by strangers or any of those that were not in her trusted inner circle.

This is why I cleaned her bathroom, this is why I watered her lawn and her pot plants, this is why I took the clothes that she had in bags in her boot of her car that were meant to be donated to charity and this is why I am continuing my weekly commitment to help her with the jobs that she is no longer able to do.

With each of these jobs there is a sense of doing the right thing.  Of making sure that the “treasures” in her life are looked after – the photos, jewellery, cards and letters that I have in a drawer as well as her house.  She loved her house and when her health was better this was obvious to all.

All of the things that were higher up the list of priorities – the chewing of the fat and the doctors appointments have now dropped off the list altogether, which means that the priority list has changed, but my time spent “with” her is still addressing the priorities.  At the top of the list, which I keep under control weekly is handling all of her mail and making sure her bills are paid and unwanted or unneeded memberships and associations are cancelled and then the next of the list is sorting, clearing, maintaining, cleaning and eventually throwing out, donating or selling the possessions in her life, some of which were treasures and some which were not.

This will keep me and my brothers busy for some time.

But for now, here is your sparkling bathroom Mum and here is the new post on your blog – one of your very greatest treasures.

would Mum's shower Mum's bathroom

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About kirra111

I am in my early 40's with a loving husband and a son. I came in to the blogging world recently when my much loved Mum (Catherine Crout-Habel) passed away. Genealogy and blogging became Mum's life in her later years when her body started failing her. Her blog is her legacy and I couldn't let it die with her.

32 thoughts on “A sparkling bathroom and a continued commitment to my Mum

  1. Just read your story on the way to work, and love how it comes straight from the heart. I hope you keep writing as you write very well and I am sure it will help you with the loss of your Mum. Sending you a virtual hug

    • Many thanks Diane, it would be lovely if as well as keeping her memory and her blog alive it also helps me with the loss of my Mum. Such an enormous loss, so hard to fill, but perhaps writing will fill a part of it.

      Really appreciate your comment.

      I might just make a place in this blogging world after all 🙂

  2. Kirrily I’m so proud of you! Your post was beautifully written and not only could I feel your connection with your mum but felt like I was there scrubbing those tiles with yo. I love the way you speak of mums dignity even after she has gone, so loving and so deep. Brilliant writing my friend…brilliant!!

    • Thanks so much Jen, really appreciate your feedback. Glad to hear you felt like you were there with me. I knew it was easier than cleaning my bathroom! 🙂

  3. Your Mum and I kept pretty much to the same witching hour for our posts and I’m sure she’d love the fact you’ve just done the same. I know she’ll be appreciating all you’re doing for her.
    You say you feel at a bit of a loss about what to write about. Well you may not share all of the same interests she does in the family tree and research but you do have one thing in common to blog, you and your family. All those who knew her know she’s at peace but would love to know about those of you left behind trying to cope with the loss. Outings, Occasions, School Concerts nothing is too small really as you’d see from the garbage I work with sometimes.
    It’s lovely to see the blog up and running again Kirra.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • Thank you so much David, this has given me some much needed guidance of where to head. Other very thoughtful blogger told me that when the time is right, it will come to me and I must write. Any little thing to write will start the ball rolling. This is just what I needed to hear. I have seen some lovely exchanges between you and my Mum, and I am glad to keep those exchanges up after she has gone. I have done this with Mandy Burton and it has been a true blessing.
      Boomeranging the hugs back at you David (in true “Mum” speak). 🙂

  4. Kirrily, you have your Mum’s talent of expressing yourself… the words will come as and when they are ready. There’s no need to to try to write as Mum did, but the thing that your Mum did best was to be herself, and that’s why we loved/love her. Be true to yourself, and follow your heart. Your pen/ keyboard will be there for whenever you’re ready.
    I’m sure she would have been there with you all the way as you scrubbed away at the bathroom..and with all the other tasks you are still doing for her. My dear Dad passed away just two weeks ago and while I have written a couple of tributes to him, it is still so hard to let him go, despite his long period of ill health. I talk to him constantly, my brother and I are always considering what he would have done or have liked to have done.
    Find your own way, in your own time, and I’ve no doubt Catherine will be guiding you whenever you need her to.

    • Thank you for your kind words Chris. I am very sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing, although I knew he had been ill for quite a while and you were talking a few weeks ago about not knowing how things would be when I’m up your way, the week after next. I now know how difficult it is, and I wish you all the best.


  5. beautifully written Kirrily, your mum will be very proud, I know I would be. I was thinking of Catherine yesterday and how much I miss her presence in our social and blogging community and I even re read many of her comments on my own and others blogs. After reading this post of yours I’m sure she is saying a big “G’DAY” to us all.

    • Thanks Kerryn, appreciate your comment and kind words. What great timing that you were thinking of Mum yesterday and re-read her comments as I was scrubbing away. I’m sure she is saying a big “G’day” to you all. I hope you feel this each time I post a blog to help keep her memory and her blog alive.

  6. What a lovely blog, sweetie and I know that your Mum would be so proud. You are so like her. Don’t feel forced to write….just do it when it comes to you…much love…xxx and I miss her too!!

    • Thank you Gallivanta, I agree she has been whispering in ears and she was certainly spurring me on, makes sense when I know so many were thinking and speaking about her over the weekend. I saw your post after I made my post and thought I had replied, but perhaps there was a glitch. “Electrickery” as my cousin Allen calls it 🙂

  7. Lovely to see you back on board Kirrily – you don’t have to worry about “how/what would Mum write”. You write as naturally as she did and so it’s like having a little of Catherine back. Be yourself and we’ll be along for the ride. The shower looks sparkling so there was a lot of heart-felt commitment in that tedious job. She’s up there cheering you on!

    • What a lovely thing to say that reading my writing is like having a little of Mum back. That’s just brought tears to my eyes (again). There have been lots of tears reading people’s lovely, thoughtful posts. Yes, there have been times that I’ve really felt her saying “Go, Go, Go, Kirrily Ann”. Happiness in the remembering, sadness for the missing.

  8. So beautiful, Kirrily! You were always your mum’s rainbow and still are, evidently. Proud mums all over the world “talk up” the merits of their children. In your case, your mum seems to have be stating facts. As gorgeous Gallivanta said, we lit candles for our departed kin on the weekend. I told your mum last year that we are going to make it a tradition to include Jarren in our thoughts and candle lighting too… and talk about him with the kids. We lit a candle on Saturday, as I told your mum we would. I wrote your mum’s name and Jarren’s name on it… Auntie Dianne’s too. Thinking of you and so glad you have this platform to share from. Much love to the family from us xx

    • Thanks Marisa, that’s lovely. Yes, I saw your exchange of posts on this blog about Jarren and that you would include him in your tradition. Glad to hear you’ve now included um too.

      Lots of love

  9. It’s good to see you around again, Kirrily, and with such a lovely post. You’ve certainly got your mum’s flair for writing… making a whole post out of scrubbing the shower, and bringing a tear to my eye with it, too. You write when you want to… and share your memories of Catherine with us if you like. It’s all laying down gold for the future and honouring the past.

    (And I’ve been very naughty about my own blog lately… maybe I need to get going on my shower…)

    • Thanks Frances. Yes, it was a whole post about scrubbing the shower, but it was so much more than that for me, a real realisation. Yes, memories of Mum are another good thing for me to write about. Here is the best place!

      Ha ha, not sure if cleaning your shower would give you the same realisation for blog material, but well worth a try 🙂

  10. I’ve just been doing some “housekeeping” on my blog and came across some comments from your lovely mum – which brought me back here. I love your post – and such a lovely act to do for your mum (both the scrubbing and the writing!).

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