Early 2016, after my mother suffered a couple of consecutive strokes that triggered accelerated loss of memory (dementia? Alzheimer's?), she needed to move into an assisted living facility.
My sister and I had the difficult task to empty the apartment where she had lived for almost 50 years since July 1968.
Although mom already cleared out quite some stuff after my dad passed away in 2010, there were still furniture, some clothes, books, pots and pans, ornaments, and other loose ends of her daily life.
We had to sort through these remains of a full life and decide what to keep, what could be donated or should be trashed.
It was a strange experience: going through cabinets and boxes, finding photographs, mementos, and other memories, among more mundane artifacts. An intimate peek into the last days of my mother's life as an independently living person.
Most striking, however, was that everything except the most personal items was reduced to just ‘objects’. The personal connection was almost totally non-existent: the soul of everything was gone.
Before I left, I took several pictures to create some final memories from the place where my mom and dad, my sister, and I lived for so many years. Looking back at these, however, I see only an empty shell. I still have my memories to cherish, of course, but the pictures of the apartment are just what they are: pictures of an empty apartment, devoid of the personality that made it a home.
I wanted to create memories but instead documented loss, like collecting grainy fragments of my mother's fading memory...
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