I started a blog called Following the Way of Love more than a year ago with the intention of writing about my mom and dad as I sift through the remnants of their lives together. Well, not much sifting has been done. At least not in the sense that I thought it would happen. Oh, I had the best of intentions. And so did my brother, Ron, who lived in their house. We’d talk about getting together to look at photos and sort through their things that were still there and box them up or give them away or…Or?
When Ron died suddenly last month while napping after work, all that changed. All those good intentions went right out the window and now became sudden necessities. Now there was a mobile home that must be sold. Sorting ensued, but not the kind of leisurely sorting I had envisioned. This sorting was the kind done with a goal and focus on the prize. And what was that prize? Three days of selling off my parents’ lives in one dollar increments. The Estate Sale.
Phone calls were made. Photos sent by text messages to family members I want to make sure are included in the process. Ron’s worldly possessions were packed in two boxes for us all to look at together. More boxes were packed and brought home to be unpacked and reviewed by the family at a later date. God forbid one of them should say, “What ever happened to the ________ grandma/grandpa/mom/dad/Ron used to have?” and I have to reply that I sold it for five bucks at The Estate Sale. And that still may happen, for my memories are not their memories.
The enormity of the task was daunting. I systematically began in one corner of the modest mobile home where they lived and touched each and every item in that place. Yes, EACH and EVERY item. I’m not kidding. Treasures were found, to be sure. Memories were resurrected, sometimes prompting a smile, sometimes tears.
And while it was painful and overwhelming at times, I wouldn’t trade the task or give the tiniest thought to having someone else do it for me. For in dealing with the possessions of my family, I was reminded of how very blessed I am and what an adventure life is. The mugs my daddy bought on one of his train trips, my brother’s swim fins he used for bodysurfing the California waves, the silly round tins containing my mom’s sewing notions, a vase she picked up in the Old City of Jerusalem while on a pilgrimage to Israel. Life, as they knew it, was GRAND!
Countless neighbors have stopped by to shop and give their condolences. One couple even told me of plans to sell their mobile home and live in their motor home in the coming years until they find a small place to live out their final years. They want to spare their kids the agony of what I must be going through. Agony? Their comment took me aback as I realized I must face this task not with dread, but with joy in honor of the lives these few earthly possessions represent.
No, there is no agony here. For their children’s sake, I hope that sweet couple change their minds.