I get asked a lot: Does sleeping in the same room where your mom died freak you out?
If mom’s a ghost, and if she “haunts” this house (which for many reasons does seem likely, unless you don’t believe in ghosts, I guess), I’m pretty sure she’s a good ghost.
At least when it comes to me.
Mom died in 1995 of breast cancer. After several weeks of losing weight until she was 60 pounds, becoming completely jaundiced due to a failing liver, and filling with fluids due to failing kidneys, I walked into this room that February and got the shock of my life.
I had seen mom at Thanksgiving. She was thin and in poor spirits. But, I did not expect to find her at death’s door just a few months later.
So yes, the final image of my mom was of her lying in bed, right here, near death.
But in no way does the house or this room trigger those memories.
I have been through so many far worse things than seeing my mom die a horrible death (not to sound callous, it’s just true…I have escaped death myself) that those memories just aren’t intrusive anymore.
So, why did I avoid sleeping in this room for so long?
All that said, I have to be honest and admit: Until recently, I almost never slept in this room.
In the context of this blog being about renovating my childhood home, I’ll circle back to that in a second.
Not only did mom die in this room, but my dad lost his mind in this room.
Never could I have guessed that dad would buy this house again.
Mom got this house in her divorce from my dad in 1984; she died in 1995. I inherited the house along with my brother at that time and sold it.
Dad bought the house again in 2012 when he learned it was for sale; we lived here together for a year before he went into nursing home No. 1. After he died in nursing home No. 3 in September 2015, I bought out my brother’s half.
For the longest time, I slept on the couch in the front room. Only recently have I begun to sleep in the master bedroom again.
Perhaps subconsciously I do have issues with the room – not just related to mom, but dad, too.
I wish my dad could have died in this room, quite frankly. Perhaps that is what bothers me more than anything else, truth be told.
But that was beyond my control. There’s nothing I could have done about that.
Christmas decorations help me move past trauma
A week or so ago, I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was thinking about putting a tree up in the master bedroom. One of my loyal followers, Denise, mentioned that she would leave a tree up all year long if she had the space.
So, I put up the Christmas tree.
And I have slept pretty well in that room since Tuesday night. Of course, I also was able to get medical cannabis Tuesday afternoon after being out for almost a week. It’s not good for me to go that long.
But what can you do? Insurers will pay for the Pharma poison; they won’t pay for your medical cannabis. It’s incredible how many people are angry over that. I’m just so grateful for the program, I haven’t griped about it.
But…wait until you talk to a mom who wants medical cannabis for her child and can’t get it for that reason.
Mom’s don’t play! That’s another blog post altogether.
I’m proud to be off Pharma and will not put addictive, harmful chemicals into my body ever again to get to sleep. I have not been sober three-plus years (minus a short smattering of relapses in the spring) to undo all that progress.
I also have no intention of being doped up, dumbed down, and rendered unable to work via Pharma poison just to make life easier for a few dishonest people who wish I would go away.
So, sans medical cannabis yet again due to its cost (but the price is coming down, that’s a blog post for later this week), Christmas tree therapy it is. It seems to be doing a fine job of keeping me calm.
The other reason I gave the bedroom a holiday theme
The other reason I gave this room a holiday theme is because it’s otherwise empty. The nightstand that is covered with a throw (that someone at Amber Ridge must have given dad) was dad’s. It’s terribly scarred. He had it more than 30 years and bought it at a yard sale.
The dresser? It’s scarred too, but you can’t tell because I painted the top red and the drawers yellow. Again, dad had it 30 years and bought it at a yard sale.
The bed? That’s dad’s, too. I took it off the frame when the cat still was alive so she could get up there with me. But now I have found I like sleeping on the floor anyway.
I do have a nice, metal, four-poster bed of high quality. All the posts even connect at the top in a square.
That bed, however, is a trigger. It’s disassembled and in storage. I should sell it.
Ironically, I bought it when my mom died.
My dad had bought the box springs and mattress pictured here brand new prior to entering memory care. He only slept on it six months before he was put on hospice and given a hospital bed.
So…is it really any wonder I haven’t wanted to sleep in this room? It simply hasn’t been all that attractive, inviting or comfortable to me.
What I did do to spruce up the master bedroom
I did paint the room – myself. And I did rip the carpet up.
I don’t have any historical photos, because let’s face it: How many kids take a picture of their parent’s room?
I can tell you my mother had a very expensive bedroom set in here at one time. That’s at my brother’s, along with the rest of the entire contents of this house as they stood at the time of my mother’s expiration in 1995.
So, I put the tree up. You know what? I love it.
I wake up to a pretty Christmas tree and a Frosty the Snowman head looking at it.
Then, I turn right over and go right back to sleep.
The oriental divider came from a friend a long time ago. I used it to hide the cat’s litter box. Now, I really like it in this room. It adds something.
I thought about buying a nice bedroom set, but then I decided to spend a week in Denver instead.
As for the house being haunted by my mother, here’s a fun fact. When a large truck rolls past the front of my house (FedEx, UPS, garbage truck, fire engine), the voice of my ADT system announces, “Master Bedroom! Window!”
I was talking to a friend on the telephone the other day when it happened. I told her, “Barbara (my mom) is slipping out to go somewhere again…or possibly just getting home.”
My friend replied, “That would scare the hell out of me.”
You might think so. But then, I like the bedroom window having a hair-trigger alarm.
People sleep better when they feel safe and calm.
And that’s what my bedroom is all about these days, Christmas decorations and all.
Until next time.
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