We threw ourselves into the task this evening and managed to go through a small hall closet, two shopping bags of gift wrapping materials and three boxes. That's all. It took us three hours to do it.
Mom never threw anything away. She saved everything. In fact, she became a hoarder,though we never really saw it coming as a part of dementia. I do know that Christmas gift ribbons were always folded and held together with a rubber bank or paper clip, ready for reuse. Curiously, we discovered that lately Mom saved the one or two inches of fabric from slacks she had shortened. In fact, last fall I found the remnants of altered slacks from the suit Mom wore to Caroline and Steve's wedding. I couldn't resist giving them to Caroline. What a thing to save. And quite frankly, what a thing for me to pass on to my eldest daughter.
For several hours, Kate and I painstakingly sorted through a myriad of disparate items. Among the boxes were smaller boxes of greeting cards and address labels from all the charities to which Mom sent small donations. She had labels from the United States Olympic Committee, Mothers Against Drug Driving, PETA Stop Animal Testing, Save the Whales, The Nature Conservancy and more and more.
We found a purse with a church bulletin from Seattle First Baptist Church dated September 11, 2005 and inside its folds was a pale pink tissue. In fact, inside of every pocket of every coat were tissues, plus a few scattered cough drops. I think I will weep before I sleep tonight. Mom was Mom and I do miss her right now.
How could I not after seeing those ribbons so neatly folded, bits of pottery and drawings from her grandchildren, cards from Dad (the man who loved her dearly), the used Smith Corona typewriter ribbons neatly packed away?
Kate asked me last night if I missed Mom and last night I said no. I am so busy, I said. I don't have time to think about her. I just do the next thing and the next thing.
But tonight, I miss her terribly.
Happy New Year.