Monday, October 29, 2007

Leftover life to stow

Residual stuff. Another one of the problems with dying is a lifetime of memories in the form of treasured stuff, and what to do with it all. Hire someone, one friend told me, "I know a great gal who will pack up all her clothes and belongings for $35/hr." Oh my, that just doesn't feel right to me, so I'm going the PYOS route.

The low point? Advertising furniture on and having a rocket scientist and his MD wife show up and dicker with me over the price of two lovely chairs from her living room. The high points? Three sets of warm and wonderful people coming by to take her plants...for free. One young lady smiled at the grouping of pots around her at the elevator and chirped "Hi guys." She then sent me an e-mail a week later to tell me how much she was enjoying "the pleasure of their company."

Another fellow showed up after work on a brisk and blustery late afternoon. He struggled to get the really big plants out the door with nary a leaf lost, then fretted over whether or not the shock of the cold air would harm then. He too sent a note of thanks with assurances that all plants survived the drive to their new home.

This weekend, my mom's caretaker from heaven (who allowed me to keep her home weeks past when it was really feasible) came and picked up the beds and loads of linen. That which she can't use is destined for family in El Salvador.

My lesson? I would much rather send all these things complete with attached memories out the door with people who appreciate them, and free works for me. That strategy makes for bright moments in a difficult undertaking.


KGMom said...

I hope as you sort through things you have some guidance from your mom (in the past) as to the significance of certain items. I had a friend who had chairs that his family had owned since Revolutionary days (yes, as in 1700s). He feared no one in his family would remember the significance of the chairs.

Laura in L.A. said...

I couldn't bear to accept money for my Grandma's modest household belongings after she passed, so I just gave them away to people who needed them. She was the most loving Christian lady I ever knew, and it was exactly what she would have wanted.

I'm praying for you and your momma.

Mauigirl said...

It's very hard to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of, and how. Having just had both my mom's and aunt's houses cleaned out (and being the most sentimental one, I ended up with most of the memorabilia) I know what it's like. And sometimes things you want to keep get lost - when my aunt moved we somehow left behind a 200-year-old cross-stitch picture that was done by a distant cousin (in its original frame). When the guys who cleaned out the rest of the house came they must have taken it along with whatever else was left and it was sold at auction. I keep hoping to see it turn up on E-Bay or Antiques Roadshow! You are smart to do it yourself; at least you won't make that kind of mistake!

annie said...

I can't tell you how many times I cried cleaning out my mother's house and getting it ready to place on the market. I was so thankful for some of the "alone" time in it--so many things were just all about who she was. It was cathartic and one gift I could give her now that she's gone--to know those things all went to good homes, and even the house will be teeming with life again. So sorry about your Mother's passing. You're in my thoughts and prayers this evening. annie

Femail doc said...

KGM: I've worked hard to know the significance of all, and making sure the things of value are sent to museums or appropriately treasured in homes of the family.

Laura: You've clearly been there and done that, understanding how much emotion and memories reside in these bits of daily life from our loved ones.

MG: Oh my goodness, it's memorabilia city at my house, and I know that my daughter will carry on as she inherited that sentimentality. She may ultimately have no room in her home for her own stuff.

Annie: I could not have said it better myself, thank you for your kind thoughts.