What We Keep

I wrote this quite a while ago, but it still stands.

Anyone who has had to clean out a house faces this same situation: what do you keep and what do you let go? We have a storage unit in Wolfeboro, NH that harbors some of the stuff from my parents’ house. Slowly but surely we have been winnowing away what to keep and what to put in auction.

It’s sadly funny when you are in the position of going through your parents’ things; things that you have lived with as a child. Take for example my mother’s love of brass things, especially lamps. I’m not a fan of brass myself, so I am always happy when we can put them in auction.

When Mom was dying of metastatic breast cancer, one of the first things she did was to invite her friends over. She and I put out all of her clothing and jewelry in the living room, and friends were encouraged to pick out what they wanted to remember her by. It was one of those times where you laughed and cried, and then laughed some more. It made her happy to gift the people she loved with her things. This also made me happy as well.

By that time I had already picked out the things that I wanted to keep. That was a day of laughing and crying and laughing some more. And it’s funny how time goes by; after the death of my mother I felt off-course for a while. I grieved her and yet I laughed when I thought about the amazing woman she was and how many lives she touched. She really put the “B” in “ballsy” too; she was a true force of nature.

The same sort of thing will inevitably happen to the Crankee Yankee and I. It will be fun for me to let our grandgirls go through my jewelry and clothes; when that day comes, I will send a lot of laughter to my mother. It reminds me of what she always told me: “things don’t really matter; people do.”

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