I started slowly cleaning out my mother’s house about 2 months ago. A closet here, a cabinet there and now I am at a point where I really need to hunker down and focus on the basement, garage and attic, which is where the majority of items are kept. I decided long ago that my mother’s room would be last as I feel that will be the hardest room to do. The room is still exactly the way that she left it, except for a few times that I have changed the sheets.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my mother and wish that she was here. She would be hogging Max and reading books to Jack every day. I cherish the times that she had with Jack and I know that he does too. Jack asks for her almost every day and tells Chris, his teachers, his Aunts and others that he misses Mom. My heart breaks for him, but we let him watch videos with her in them and I plan to create an album solely dedicated to photos of him with my mother.
Going through these closets and cabinets is such a walk down memory lane. My Mom was a tucker and would save everything from newspaper clippings, photos, notes and more in address books and other little pads of paper. I smile as I find her bridge tallies from games that she would have with her friends here at the house or cards that people sent while she was sick telling her that “bald is beautiful.”
There were always certain things that my mother saved that I appreciate and have been finding all over the house. Two things were obituaries for friends and relatives and prayer cards from funerals and wakes that she had attended for many of these people. I’m glad that she did so that my sisters and I can continue to remember those who have passed away that were close to us. She also appreciated a beautifully written obituary and had often times told me how hers should read and look. “Never include a photo of me from my teenage years. We obviously have more recent photos of me and why wouldn’t we use one of those?” Or being very specific about where she went to school, where she graduated and certain things that needed to be included in her obit and information that wasn’t necessary. Her friend Maureen was the person in the end who wrote her beautiful obituary with some edits and inclusions from me the morning after she passed away.
In going through the 30 years of items in this house, I have also found little items from when my father passed away 20 years ago that my Mom kept. I’m sure that she missed him up until she joined him in heaven, but little things that she held on to make me think twice about hanging onto something before throwing it away. For my mother, it would be some bridge tallies and notes. For my father, she saved things like cards and some slips of paper where he was doing measurements or calculations.
While going through all of these memories, I really wish that we had my mother recorded on a video telling my sisters and I how much she loved us and how much we meant to her. Or a book recorded with her voice reading to her grandchildren. All of the things that were too difficult to talk about when she was sick but would be nice if we had them now.
I am absolutely nowhere near being done with cleaning out the house but am approaching a point where I need to order a dumpster and ask my sisters to designate what they plan to take and everything else will be sold in an estate sale. My heart breaks that we can’t keep everything, but we don’t have room to keep it all.
This process of cleaning out will continue and once we are at a good point, we will put the house on the market, also a very tough decision.
Although it is extremely difficult to go through this process, it is a nice walk down memory lane.