After Mammy died we decided that we would not be in too much of a hurry to dispose of her possessions. We all felt that we needed some breathing space.
But eventually, we knew it would have to be done.
In this past week a great deal has been done. A great deal still remains to be done but the task has been started.
Kerry Sister has been here for a week and she has worked hard. She left this morning. This afternoon I was baby sitting and called out 'home' to say some sort of a goodbye and while Miss Martha slept, I wept and wept. A lot of tears have been shed in Matty's house this past week.
My parents built that house nearly forty years ago and they hadn't a whole lot of money to do it with so, when the time came to fit and furnish it, they had to make economies. As the years passed Matty replaced nearly all the original furniture with better pieces. These last few years she had it nearly the way she wanted it. I was with her a few years back when she bought her three piece suite and I remember thinking, 'that's going to outlast her'. We all encouraged her to improve the house because we knew how much pleasure she got out of it. The two youngest sisters were very handy and they built her kitchens and laid wooden floors. Every time they came home there would be a project, either woodwork or decorating or hanging new curtains. The young brother would be getting her to modernise her light fittings and overseeing the general maintenance. The rest of us would help out in other ways – maybe driving her around searching for the perfect thing or helping out with a few extra quid towards a new carpet or curtains. I'd get her plants for the garden and I wasn't the only one either.
She was still at it after the diagnosis of terminal cancer - a new back door in July 2010, the Leitrim sister re-upholstering stools and footstools for her. She was even re-organising the china in her corner cabinet from her bed when she couldn't get up.
So – with such a mother you can imagine how painful it has been to take her house apart. To even think about the removal from her home of all the nice furniture she waited so long for is hard. But it is the small things that scald my heart. Her slippers, her handbag, her toiletries and her address book. Her hand writing in this or that notebook. Her bedroom, with her matching wardrobe and chests of drawers and all the personal touches gone now. There are no clothes, no books, no holy pictures, no rosary beads – all that remains now are her embroidered slippers, her toilet bag and a cupboard full of empty hangers. And soon, very soon that will be gone too and Matty's house, our home place, will just be an empty shell.