The Sum of Life

It seemed strange to me. So strange, that a whole life could be packed up into plastic bags. It seemed so foreign to everything I had learnt up until now in my life. “Your life is what you make it.” 

I had learnt to trust in a lot of things that just don’t exist anymore. My mum used to say “topsy turvy” when I was a child and things were strange.

I imagined what would be left of me if it had been me who passed away; a box of books, and plastic bags of shoes. I imagined it too would be a bit topsy turvy.

We took my Mums clothes to charity, and it still seems strange that my gut doesn’t run cold with the thought of someone else wearing my Mum’s clothes.

I assumed the hardest thing would be when Mum physically passed away, but I think a lot of the pain comes in the deaths you realise afterwards: the last time she wore a raincoat, a jumper or the last time she picked up a book to read. It messed with my head when I saw all the books she had bought, hoping to read. Pages which would forever remain stuck together and untouched in my Mum’s life.

You think “When was the last time we hugged?” as in a proper hug, where she was strong enough to stand and hold you and not the other way around. And you count the days since you last had a walk in the garden or the last time she was out in the rain. 

It’s another goodbye; she won’t wear those brown boots anymore. We won’t receive a cuddle in her coat. I can’t expect most people to understand.

It all seems so final, yet still, this isn’t the hardest thing.


We will all move away in our ears we hear her saying “this is your time, girls.” It isn’t so difficult to say goodbye to my home. I can make home anywhere, with anyone. Home is in me.

And here we are, with a whole life in plastic bags. And that’s the most painful thing; that one person’s life is summed up in plastic bags and goodbyes. Vibrant colours, memories and laughter wrapped up in slick, black plastic.


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18 thoughts on “The Sum of Life

  1. Alexandra A – I'm just a skinny girl with a lot of hair and a couple of stories. I'm 26, married, and have two very active, sparkly-eyed babies. My mother lives with me so I've got my best ally and source of wisdom here, too. Everything I do is for my family. We like to garden, paint, start projects, read, and watch a little bit of Netflix. I'm working on my cooking, parenting with patience, and learning how to love life where I'm at. Though I've abandoned my degree three times in two different states (yes, I said three times), I have listened and watched and picked up a couple of tips. Most of what I write is entirely non-fictional because I let life spin the tales. I'm ready to learn more and am excited to meet others on the same path. This is to serve as a record of what I've done. All pictures have been taken by me, unless otherwise credited.
    Alexandra A says:

    My mom has said the exact same thing to us girls. You are right that she is still with you, but her life is not in plastic bags. Her life is gone to the wind and the energy and the things she taught you, but never confined to plastic bags. I hope my viewpoint doesn’t alarm you (I am most sensitive to your loss) but it saddens me to think of someone this way (even if I haven’t met them). Your words and writing style are very moving, so thank you and job well done.

    1. Don’t worry! I am not alarmed 🙂 I know my mums spirit is all around and isn’t in the bags. It’s more the fact that that’s the last of her physical presence 🙂
      Thank you for your comment

  2. M T McGuire – Great Britain – Humorous fantasy fiction author... the books are quite funny too. MTMcGuireAuthor on Twitter if you tweet. Website here blog here
    M T McGuire says:

    I hear you. I have some of my dad’s jumpers because wearing them is like having a big from him. None of us can bring ourselves to take the rest away. Not yet.

      1. M T McGuire – Great Britain – Humorous fantasy fiction author... the books are quite funny too. MTMcGuireAuthor on Twitter if you tweet. Website here blog here
        M T McGuire says:

        Your right the time will come.

  3. Awesome post. Admire your strength to have got this far. I still haven’t been able to go through Yolanda’s stuff. The only 2 people who are allowed to wear her clothes are my two girls.

  4. I always love reading your posts and seeing how you are fairing. You write so beautifully.

  5. Perfectly expressed.

    You Mum gave the world a much greater legacy than what is in those bags – and both of them are amazing! 🙂

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