Yesterday I took my sweetheart to his nephew’s house. Well, his late wife’s former house, that is. To sort through stuff and decide, whether he wants to keep some of it. His nephew thought, some of it was my sweetheart’s stuff, still, and didn’t want to get rid of it, without having asked first.
And sure enough, there were his papers from school and university years still stored there. And wedding photographs among many other photographs of times long gone. His music record collection and Super 8 film reels. Complete, with the projector.
This was a hard thing to do for my sweetheart. Going into a house he lived in for such a long time. The young people have already begun to strip the walls and start renovation works. Mainly in the upstairs rooms. But the ground floor still looked much like it was last lived in. Save for boxes and rumble strewn everywhere.
To be perfectly honest, it was a hard thing to do for me, too. At the point, where he and his sister in law started to sift through the photographs to discuss time and location shown, I had to leave. This was apparently, how far I could go. And not one inch further.
As it rained outside, I just took refuge in the garden shed. Sitting on containers with paint, waiting to be applied in this house of a dead woman, I wondered about my reaction. Somebody’s dog kept me company, his name was Hawking, as I had picked up earlier that day. And I was glad for this little fellow being there, despite the fact he stole and ruined my cigarette lighter. I felt very sad. As if all the pent-up, but not expressed sorrow in this house somehow had spilled over to me. At the same time there was this repulse in me. I did not want to kow in detail about their wedding. Or their joint holidays. Sorry folks.
On our way home, my little car filled up with boxes, we stopped at the hospital to visit my sweetheart’s aunt. She was hospitalised again, as her fever didn’t drop and she is in a bad way, in general. The doctor in the nursing home even indicated, that she might die rather sooner than later.
And sure enough, seeing her decline was quite a shock. The way, her skin stretched over her bones didn’t look natural any more. She lay there, her aduous breathing the only sign of life. I couldn’t help but stroke her cheeks and hair, she looked so forlorn and alone. And sure enough, in an instant she seemed to relax somewhat. Her tense shoulders easing up a bit and her breathing becoming slow and calm.
And this made me calm, too. So an old woman on her last stretch gave me consolation, as weird as this may sound. Really, at the end of the day, in the truest sense of the phrase, there shouldn’t be anything left to bug you. And there isn’t. And even a (relative) stranger can comfort one. This gives me hope.