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August 31, 2012

           What becomes of 83 years of life?

I sadly look around my living room as I look at the remnants of my mother’s life sitting in piles; a pile of things I should keep for myself and my girls, (aka…. I’m not ready to part with yet!), a pile of things for my sister and her children that I think they may want, another pile of things that need to go into storage for my  brother, for when he gets his life back on track.

Then there are the numerous items that I know I do not have space for, and while they may have held happy memories for mom, I have no real connection to many of the items, and yet, I do not have the heart to put them in the “donate” or “trash” pile.

What to do with the postcards that had been mailed by family and friends from their various vacation spots. There is the silver airplane cigarette lighter that sat in the center of our coffee table for about the first 12 years of my life.  You turned the propeller and the cockpit popped open to light the cigarettes.  Could it be valuable?  Maybe, but it has a broken propeller, so I doubt it.  Trash?, I don’t think so!, It belongs on the coffee table, Really? It’s broken!

Then there are her 3 piece polyester western suits that she wore in the early 80’s. Those should be packed away.  Why and for whom?

Mom, dad and my brother had the opportunity to do some travel over the years, together, they saw a large portion of our great country, along the way she collected pencils, postcards, t-shirts,  coffee mugs, and Christmas ornaments. She collected angel pins and figurines, little sewing machine  nick -nacks that represenedt her life as a seamstress.

There are boxes full of pictures of people that are not family or close friends, some of them I know casually, others not at all.  Most of the family pictures are copies of ones that the rest of us already have.  Isn’t it bad luck to throw away photos?  Right now, I don’t need to go tempting fate here!  I don’t need to go looking for more trouble!  I could pack them away for someone else to have to deal with at a later place and time.  Wouldn’t my girls love me for that one!

Maybe I should invite an outsider to help make the decisions to let some things go. Someone not emotionally connected to these “things”.  As I look around my house and my own collections
of life, I know that I should start now, and save my girls some of this heartache. I know they will agree with me on that one!  I have managed to harbor a pretty large stash in my 60 years of life, just imagine what I can add in the next 23!!

Even though, the trash pile contains a small purse that is frayed at the seams, a broken embroidery hoop  that will not hold a piece of fabric, an old car bank with a broken axle, a wallet with a broken snap, the nylon scarf that has a hole in it, the mismatched socks; these items will not be of any use to anyone, but they represent my mother.  They represent her life, throwing them away, is like throwing her away too.

It is hard enough to pack up parts of her life into a box to stuff away in the back of a closet, but to put her life in the trash like yesterdays garbage???  That really hurts!!

Do our lives really need to come to an end like this?

It is pretty sad that in the end our life can be summed up in three little words………………


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  1. CurtissAnn permalink

    Darling, my heart is with you. Jim and I have been through this a number of times. When I moved my mother half way across country, having to sell the family home, we had to sort through 3 generations of stuff! And get rid of so much in a hurry. I’ve been clearing out my own things ever since, yet where does all this come from?! I’m yet sifting and sorting. Such is life. Hugs….

  2. As you are well aware my friend, this is quite a difficult task, however for me, I find that it is easier to do it now while my mother is alive, rather than to be dealing with the hearbreak of death adding to the job. I think in that scenario, I would be holding on to a whole lot more of the “trinkets of time.”

  3. Carolyn, I faced similar issues when the girls passed. Eventually I began working through the stuff by giving away some things to “special” friends, those who had new little girls of their own & also knew mine. I figured they would appreciate the things more. It really helped! Here’s a thought: gather those things that would make good props or costumes for a theatre program, and donate them. I bet you have a community theatre around, or a school program. If not, I know of one 😉

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