It took four sister-friends, great situational satire, and silent prayers to get me through cleaning out my mom’s room. I had contemplated doing it over a period of time. A dresser drawer here, a closet shelf there. But as the clock kept ticking I managed to get three piles together of what’s to keep, what’s to give away, and what’s to throw away.
I thought I would be a basket case sobbing through the whole event–but I wasn’t. I thought I would be numb through it all–yet I wasn’t. Emotions ranged from marvel at how well she kept her things to surprise at finding nuggets of history to regret for realizing some things were forever loss. She still had the doilies from childhood that lay daintily under bric-a-bracs on shelves. She had tons of cassette tapes which I can’t part with just yet. I couldn’t find the VHS of her mother’s funeral. That made me sad. Her bed pads, walkers, wheelchair and unused diapers and wipes are going to people at her church. Even on a fixed income she was buying diapers for another woman in her church who wasn’t blessed to have what she was getting for free. That lady always thought of others first.
I’m so glad I didn’t have to share her with another sister. I used to wear her shirts in middle school when her top size wasn’t that far apart from mine. I realize she loved patterned skirts just like me. She was a blazer junkie and I have the same tendencies. There are some of her dresses I plan to repurpose and make my own.
A couple of brooches will be part of my heirloom. My scarves collection will make room for hers. I’m keeping the Strawberry Shortcake mug that held her toothbrush and the pretty glass mug she drank her tea in. I’m coming back for her fine china (or what’s left of it). My brother and dad won’t know they are even missing. The coat rack, a rarity in modern decor at a friend’s suggestion should go in my office. I’m keeping the DVD player she never opened.
I’m at once relieved and guilty. Relieved that this part of the grieving process is well underway. Guilty because it took four hours and four friends to
make sense of what was left of her earthly belongings. Her full and vibrant life was reduced to three piles–or so I think.
She was more than a pile of clothes and shoes in a basket. And for everything I touched, I knew that her absence, though searing, is what will draw the memories closer to me. I’m not ready to sift through all that I brought home with me just yet. That’s for another day. A private day where I will be left to my tears and sorrow. Where no friends nor chatter will silence the sadness within.