Orange Beach – My Mama’s Home

I decided to come down to Orange Beach for a few weeks during this summer since we now own my mother’s place. I figured the kids would enjoy going to the pool every day and they could also spend time visiting their NorMama (my dad’s wife). They so love seeing her and ask often when they will get to visit with her again.

Coming here is so bittersweet. There are still little pastel colored post-it notes everywhere with inspirational sayings and quotes that my mother left herself as reminders. All her belongings are still here, basically untouched. Her little orgainizer sits on her kitchen bar full of mail and things she needed to keep or tend to. Her sewing box sits next to her chair in the living room with her magnifying lamp she used to quilt. The closet in the extra bedroom is full of quilt material and scraps she intended to use. Quilt tops have been pieced together and left waiting for her return. She just knew she was coming back home.

As I sit nightly on the deck, I realize why she loved this place so much. You can hear the water lapping on the shore of the bay, such a peaceful and calming sound. You see the lights of the marinas and condos in the distance but it is quiet. Occasionally, you can hear music playing from a distant restaurant patio. The moon reflects off the water as the dolphins break the surface of the water and plunge back in. Could there be a more relaxing setting?

I’m sorry I couldn’t get her back here for her final days. It just happened so fast and before I knew it, she was helpless and unable to travel any distance. Perhaps it’s poor planning on my part but her doctor didn’t warn me of what was coming…and how soon it would happen. I don’t fault myself for it; I did so much and I did the best I knew how.

I find myself in a daze here staring at all her things and frozen when I think of doing away with them. How can I do that? But I have to…eventually. Nothing is urgent since it has a home here but eventually, I have to come to grips with the fact that things must go. When I unpacked after getting here, there was no place to put most of my things because all her cabinets and dressers were full. I looked under her bathroom sink for a place to put my make-up bag and found various bottles of lotion, several bottles of peroxide and alcohol, cleaning supplies, etc. No room at all for one more thing.

She never would have left all these things behind for someone else to deal with if she knew she was going to die. More proof she planned to come home. As obsessed as she was with ridding all my cabinets of any expired foods, I found her air conditioner filter with a little date written on it: Aug 1st 2008. She was so organized. Who writes the date on their filters?!??!

I’m hoping this will be a theraputic time for me being in her home. But it is still her home to me.



  1. Whatif said,

    June 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Um, I write dates on filters…

    • teentsil said,

      June 26, 2010 at 3:33 am

      Oh my! That makes you organized. A trait I inherited but lost somewhere after having children. Nice sign on name, by the way.

      • Whatif said,

        June 29, 2010 at 10:30 pm

        I do get a lot done but not because I’m organized; it’s because I forget how to say no and I usually do as I’m told – by people who r organized.

        I thought that name was appropriate. {{:->

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