I am cleaning and reorganizing my basement. In order to accomplish this I have to get rid of things. Sort, toss, donate, organize and store. This is particularly difficult when it comes to sorting through things that once belonged to loved ones. Those loved ones being Mom, Dad, and Chelle.
Besides the remarkable amount of pictures I have from each of them, I have trinkets, greeting cards, personal belongings, gifts, etc…
How do you pitch anything? Isn’t that like erasing them? I’m crushed with that thought.
I needed to think about how to address this huge task before me. I sat in the basement contemplating just what to do. There’s just so much stuff. This task seemed like an impossibility. I don’t want to lose them.
I began with Mom’s things. I looked through her huge totes of clothing, pictures, books, ID cards and badges from various places of employment, calendars noted with all her work hours and appointments, coffee mugs, things that belonged to her mother and grandmother, bibles, and writings – which include her endless handwritten lists, notes, reminders, quotes, and journals with all her many thoughts. (I knew right off I’d need to keep those.)
I asked myself…when I die, what would happen to each of these things? Would my children cherish them as I do? Probably not. Would they be tossed out without a second thought? Probably. But some things are still usable yet what good are they if left in a tote? Because my mom was the last to use it? And if I used it, I would erase everything meaningful about it? She, along with Chelle and my dad, would say…use it!
So I kept things out that I can use and donated what I know I won’t. For instance, I’m using my mom’s comb. I found it in an old purse of hers. I’ll use her note cards and stamps, although I will need to add a lot of extra postage. I wear her jewelry and cover with her blanket at night.
I did get rid of some hard things, like personalized sweatshirts that I made for her. They will never be worn again. They once served a purpose and she loved them. That will have to be enough. I just can’t store them only for my kids to dispose of later. I’m trying to make things easier for them for when my time comes.
This process has taken me a few weeks to do. Now their treasures, their lives, are condensed to one container each. I look at these and can’t help to feel sadness. Decades of life and living condensed to a single, plastic tote.
Maybe I just feel too damn much…
I guess what’s most important are the memories. And, for me, pictures are just that. When I look at a picture, I can remember. I remember particulars surrounding that moment. I remember how I felt. I feel the emotion. I feel the day. Pictures are probably the most valuable of all material things to me, along with thoughtful writings written by these special people.
Death is a part of life. I get it. But it’s painful. And it’s hard. And it’s most unenjoyable. I don’t want to forget and that’s a fear of mine.
When lives intertwine, there’s really no undoing that…ever.
I miss my mom. I miss my dad. I miss Chelle. I miss Taylor. I miss all those who’ve touched my heart deeply and then had to leave.
So tonight I’m going to enjoy my bourbon barrel blackberry wine as I relax on my front porch swing. The past weeks have stirred up many emotions. I’ll reflect on memories tonight as the sorting, donating, tossing, organizing, and storing are now complete.
My front porch swing is a little lonely tonight. Wishing any one of my loved ones was sitting beside me. ♥️