It’s been a very quiet weekend around my home – exactly what I needed, actually. I’m still putting away all the items from my mom’s life that I took from my parents’ home (e.g. jewelry, cook books, etc.). Little by little, I have integrated the things that were once hers in with the items that have always been mine. They will now coexist with the things I have from those other family members who have passed on – my grandmother’s metronome that sat atop her piano; my grandfather’s pepper mill – he loved fresh cracked pepper; dishes that belonged to my great grandmother, Julia. My cabinets and shelves are full of mementos from lives now gone.
I spent the morning updating my living will, Last Will & Testament, and my Power of Attorney. After watching what we went through with my mother I wanted everything to be in place when my time came. I named my sister as the person in charge of making all my medical decisions because she has the best grasp on when to say “enough” out of all my family members. She was the first to realize (after me) that we were only prolonging the inevitable with my mom. When you’ve tried everything you can think of, it’s time to let go. She gets that – so she gets to be my voice when I can no longer speak.
As part of the process, I allocated some of my possessions to friends and family. It’s daunting to give away your things – to think about who would want the things you consider so special that you’d rather not live without them. I was stumped on who to give my camera equipment to as nobody else in my family would really want it. Truth is, it will be so out of date by the time someone gets their hands on it it probably won’t matter much. It’s hard to believe it will be meaningless to everyone else when I consider it to be the most precious thing I own.
I’ve always known in my heart that things are just “things” – that the house could burn down or the tornado could sweep through – and you have to be able to let it all go and move on. But, now that I’m older, I see where people can become attached to their possessions. I realized that the first time I raised that camera to my eye. It would be like taking off my left hand at this point – something I would never be able to fully comprehend how to live without…but I’d make adjustments and find a way, I’m sure.
My dog, Gracie, turns 11 tomorrow. I don’t know where all the years have gone but I kiss her head every night and I thank God she’s been here with me through the last decade. She and Petee not only keep me company in an otherwise empty home, they have taught me so much about myself. I see the best of who I can be – and the worst – in their eyes. I try to do right by them and to love them as unconditionally as they love me. I don’t always deserve their love and affection, but I always take it in, nonetheless.
Gracie sleeps on an afghan that my mother crocheted for my bed years ago. (At some point I changed my color scheme and the afghan became the dog blanket.) Some would think that was a terrible thing to do with a keepsake from my mom but she would have loved it. She loved her dogs like she loved all of us kids. She was especially fond of Grace and always looked forward to coming over to see her.
I know the dogs don’t know why I am bringing new items into the house and I doubt they can comprehend why I’ve been crying more than usual but I know we will all get through this time of grief. It still hasn’t fully sank in that my mom is gone but I look at her wedding ring that now sits in my jewelry box and I know that its true. Possessions can be a blessing or a curse in this day and age; I try to only hold on to the ones I see as blessings.