June twelfth of this year will be one year since Mom died. I've learned so many things since she was first diagnosed, progressed with ALS and since she passed away. My latest lesson - do not prolong going through your loved one's things after they have passed away. Many of you may remember my one family member asking me the day of her service if I was going back to her house that night to go through her things. Now, I don't mean you have to do it that quickly. But, don't put it off as I did.
At first, I did take a few things. I went through her nice jewelry and a few things from the kitchen - but that was really it. Dad had left everything as it was - even her robe still hanging on the back of the door. I admit, I liked it that way. I wanted things to be there because they were hers and I wasn't ready for us all to swoop in and separate it out.
Here we are almost a year later. Dad announced he was having a garage sale and was going to sell some of her clothes, books, etc. He told me to come out and make sure there wasn't anything I wanted. I avoided it. I'm not much of a "stuff" kind of person and I didn't want to go there and bring home a ton of things I didn't really need - only so I could cling to them as memories of Mom. Well, I paid for this decision as Dad sold something I wished he hadn't.
No more putting it off! Today Sue and I spent almost six hours at their house packing, sorting and tossing. Dad was at a car show and we had the house to ourselves. We worked our tails off! We hauled so many boxes and trash - we were pooped! Dad had stoked the wood stove before he left. That fire was still hot in the late afternoon. Even with all the windows opened, we were still sweating!
It was worth all the hard work as we got a lot accomplished. We are by no means done, but it was a good beginning. We set a lot of things aside for a second garage sale. Velvet will be coming out this week, so I'll be encouraging her to take home some particular items that I really don't want going home with someone that didn't love Mom. Corey will also be able to go through and make sure there's nothing he and his family don't want.
I came home with a carful of items, as did Sue. I talked her into taking Mom's makeup/overnight bag. It is really not that attractive - dusty pink with orangish flowers. But, that bag has taken her on airplanes, car trips and even to the hospital. I was so happy when Sue agreed to take it home!
The back of the Jeep is loaded with books for Grandma to sell at Group Health. I also have several items for Grandma that Mom had that were Grannie's. I know Grandma will be glad to have them - a ceramic ashtray with a cougar and her kittens and three ceramic squirrels.
For me, I came home with Mom's cookie jar. She painted it years ago. Growing up, Mom and Dad would always have it filled. Dad was a great cookie baker and would make batches and batches to fill up the jar. He'd add a slice of bread on top to keep them soft. At one point over the years, the lid was broken and glued back together. Before Mom was diagnosed, I tried to find one for myself on Ebay. I found them alright - but they were hundreds of dollars! Plus, they weren't painted like my Mom painted hers.
I've chalked this up to another life lesson. Don't wait too long. And don't expect to be content with your loved one's diamonds or other valuables. It's often those items that wouldn't be worth much of anything to anyone else that will be priceless to you.
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