As April approached, it was time for us to start trying to go through some of Mom's things, and I do mean "try." I knew it would be a hard task, but did not know exactly how hard.
Dad, Joy, and I were to be the ones involved in the process, the ones making the decisions. It proved to be very difficult to have us all agree on what to do with some of the things, or to be able to disassociate ourselves and emotions for the day to get through some of the things, or to even find a day that we could all get together to "try." The days were rare and infrequent, as none of us were just rushing to the process. It was not something we looked forward to doing with eager anticipation. It was more like dreading it, but knowing it was something that had to be done. I would've rather had my nails pulled off one by one. There was so much emotion and attatchment to things, even when we tried to detach ourselves. It was impossible. We never got through one room or even one drawer without one of us crying. And we still have not gotten through everything. We did make our first purge, of things that were more easy to let go of. And we did set aside and keep some of our most treasured items. But we did not really get too far past that with the process. It was such a paradox. At times you think you want everything gone, put away, to see no harsh reminders of her, but then other days you do not want one thing touched or moved, fearing you are slowly letting go of her, one piece at a time, and that is all we have left.
Her closet and bathroom were the worst for me. All her personal items, her glasses, her purse, her toothbrush, her lipstick which she never left the house without. Items she had just touched days ago. Items she used right up until the last day of her life. I remember brushing her teeth with her toothbrush the morning of what would be her last day with us. Then I used her favorite Mary Kay creme to wash her face. We had just put her lotion on her itchy legs hours before her final breath. I could still smell that scent from her Jergens bottle. What would we do with all of these things? How could we part with them all, and that was only the beginning. She had so much stuff, it was over whelming....more than any of us could have imagined. I remember going into her big walk in closet many times and just sitting on the floor crying, looking at all her clothes. They were hung so orderly and color coordinated, some even hung inside out so not to get any dust on them. And then her shoes, neatly kept in their original boxes all labeled on the outside in her neat handwriting. I could sit in the closet and even smell her. This is where I felt the closest to her, not wanting to leave.
It is now months later and we did finally move the clothes, per Dad's request. But what about everything else? Her things all all around, she is everywhere you look. She loved her trinkets, and they helped make her house a home. I was often with her when she got them, and if I wasn't, I could tell you where she bought them. She loved so many items becasue she could always find beauty in anything. She would often just buy something that she knew would brighten up a room, or buy something for someone else because she knew they would like it or it was their favorite color or their birthday was coming. I knew I would have a hard time with all of these things, but did not know I would find attatchment to so many of them. I found it difficult to let go (and still do). I want things to be left the same. I don't want things to be different, but they are different.....very different. And they will
never be the same again.
It has been a slow process, and we still have lots to do, but the Spring Cleaning had begun. And I hope that with time, it may perhaps get a little easier. I hope one day to find joy in looking at her memorabilia and maybe even to be able to smile while doing it.