Monday, March 28, 2011

Sorting Through A Life

My family is in an interesting surreal kind of time. Four of us traveled 600 miles to say our last good-byes to my gracious mother-in-law last week. She is quickly failing now and we wait for the call to tell us that she is back in her husband's arms after 15 years apart.

For a few hours on our trip we were instructed to go to Grandma's abandoned apartment (She is now very comfortable in a wonderful hospice home) and accomplish two things. Grandma had very particular ideas about what items in her place were to go to which family member. So we were to collect our items and fit them into our small car already full of four people.

The second job was to help Hub's big sister get rid of as much stuff as possible. None of us wanted personal things to go to the goodwill so we needed to go through every drawer, closet, cupboard and closet to sort the junk from the special things that held memories.

I know that many of you have been through this odd chore before. It was a first for me and very sobering and silly at the same time. We would open a hidden box of photos and giggle at the sight of Hubs in grade school before he grew into his ears. I pulled open Grandma's linen drawer and pulled out two yellowed dish towels that my boys had painted while we were on vacation one year. (Never used of course!) I had totally forgotten about doing that. Another drawer held every single card and letter she had ever received I think. She is the one person I still write paper letters to, because I know she loves them.

Stories were told and memories were shared. I was thankful to have the newest member of our family there. Sassy Bride and Writer Son had made the trip with us. She was able to meet and chat with Writer Son's Grandma and hear countless family stories and share her own. Sassy Bride was so sweet and gracious in what could have been a really uncomfortable and awkward position for a new bride. I am so happy to be her mother-in-law!

Now that I am home, I am looking at my drawers and closets a bit differently. Would I want my kids to dig through all this stuff? I believe that I will begin to sort and throw out things before it gets beyond me. But it is interesting to see what some will save and treasure. It reveals so much and at the same time brings up questions that can never be answered.


  1. Interesting time for you Brenda Susan.

    I've done the same thing with my parents belongings after they died (about nine months apart).

    But J and I are ahead for the curve. We are getting rid of a lot of our stuff, not wanting to burden our kinds with piles of junk. And while I feel "diminished," as I said in a recent post, I am also relieved. There is a lot of stuff I no longer need, and I'm glad to be rid of it.

    And great that Sassy Bride could be part of the process! Great way of getting to know your family history, which is now hers.

  2. My mother is always getting rid of things because she doesn't want her sons wives fighting over things (which they will, sadly). She's 86 and always sending me something and I tell her I don't need anything. I've got all my memories and they mean more than anything. She stresses over it so I tell her, Ma, you won't be here so don't worry about it! She laughs. It does make you think though doesn't it. You've got a lovely family.

  3. After sorting through Mom's stuff, I now find myself thinking the same. Do I really want to keep this stuff around here? Sorry for this sobering time for you.

  4. I'm very sorry to hear your news. My prayers are with you Brenda.

    Lisa xx

  5. Wow, isn't that interesting. Sassy Bride did WITH YOU what she will one day probably do FOR YOU when you go to Jesus.

    I know, I am creepy to think about that.


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