Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011

An unforgettable New Year's Eve. Tonight my sister Kate and I began our task of 'going through' Mom and Dad's 'stuff' at the Arapahoe house. Kate told me, "Mom always said 'You girls have a big job on your hands.' Mom never mentioned John. It was always 'you girls.'"
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.
Happy New Year.


Kate said...

Oh, my. We did work hard and barely made a dent in all that's there waiting for the next opportunity. It will take us years to do this properly.

I miss Mom daily. Last night wasn't as emotional for me though....I could feel her presence with a sly smile and laugh as she watched us plow through all those things.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your sister can share the sorting out and cleaning out, as well as the memories. I remember doing that with my sister.