The picture at the top of this blog was taken that day. Okaasan and me, sitting on the sofa in her newly arranged room, which we had set up with a big TV, a heated table, clothes hanging place, futons etc etc
She never really used both rooms. The tatami room became a clothes - and SO much more - store...bags...bags...bags...old bits of food...shoes....Hawaiian dance stuff....knickknacks...
She lived in the main room - slept/ate/had toilet accidents/watched hours of TV/fiddled around with magazines and newspapers....SO much of what's happened to us happened in that room. Laughs and anger. Cross-cultural warzone.
And then...finally...life for Okaasan here became too hard. The fall...the broken bone...the incapacity..the raging fury....the hospitals and care homes...it became clear she would never come back. In fact we don't risk even a visit here, in case it sparks off confusion about where "home" is. She proudly and happily now calls her 10th floor room and the care home her "home".
Since then it's taken me two years to clear out the rooms here at our home - get rid of stuff/keep essentials. We've used the rooms for guests and drying laundry. The cats have moved in, with great joy, to the old carpet in front of the heater. In our conversation the room has changed from "Okaasan's room", to "Chichi's room" and "the downstairs room"....
And now. A new era is born.
Yes, there is the old sofa....the very cleaned floor (we all know what happened on THAT floor!)...the blue curtains. Cat.
It's about to become an English classroom. Somehow. By next week....
I decided to make some big changes in my work life: close the rented apartment which I've used for over 11 years and move the lessons to home. Rearrange some other teaching too and try to free up more time for tour guide work. That's the grand plan.
The past few weeks have been a stressed time of trying to make those changes. A lot of goodbyes to students. Changes which will be good, I hope. But at the moment, just feel like stress.
So. this room with all its memories....about to make some new memories. :-)
* We went and saw Okaasan yesterday. Took her out in the car to a shopping mall and had a wheelchair walk and coffee. She IS much more confused about doing simple physical things now, getting in and out of the car, the toilet etc And as we sat in a Hawaiian themed cafe we asked her if she'd been to Hawaii...
She said she'd never been. Had no memories of that...no memories of much to do with Hawaii....so sad....I listened to that story a million times...and now it is MY memory. Not hers.