When my mother passed away May 24, 2013 my dad asked my sister, Carol, and I to go through and clean out mom’s things. We had started working on it but had not yet completed the task when our Dad passed away on December 3, 2014.
It was in January or February that I started making the 2-1/2 hour drive to their home so Carol and I could work together going through their belongings, sorting things out, taking what we wanted. They had moved into the house in 1966 when I was six years old. The accumulation was massive.
Throughout the process we found things that made us go “why?”, such as boxes and boxes of health-care books. We found things that were funny, items we could use in genealogy, photographs that were fun to flip through, collectibles, and numerous other things. One of the neatest discoveries was four boxes labeled “treasures” that were filled with family heirlooms and lists typed by my mother on an old-fashioned typewriter giving the information on each “treasure”, such as how the family acquired it, who had owned it, etc. Those four boxes were a genuine, exciting surprise. Finding Treasures was definitely fun.
It was an exhaustive process and when we finally reached the point where we had sorted through and removed everything we wanted, it was time to call a company for an estate sale.
The estate sale was Wednesday and Thursday this week. It was rainy, windy, and cold, but the street was a busy flow of cars and people were making purchases. Everything was under control when I arrived to see how things were going.
What surprised me was the emotional impact it had on me when I entered the home. I never expected it to be that difficult. I was glad to be done with the sorting and cleaning, glad that I now longer have to spend all my weekends there. When I walked through the door and saw strangers digging through my parent’s belongings, walking around in the house I had grown up in, it was hard. I was swallowing and blinking my eyes to keep from crying. I maintained my control, walked through the house, and didn’t fall apart until I got back into my car.
Then I tried to analyze why I had such a hard time. Was it because it felt like a personal invasion to have strangers going through their belongings? Was it because it was the house I grew up in and soon would be out of our hands? It is hard to explain. It could have been one of those things, it could have been a combination, I will probably never know. I was shocked at my own emotional reaction.
I did go back to the house later and again the next day and did not re-experience that initial emotional hit. The sale is now over. We sold a ton but have lots of things left. Now we have to figure out how to get rid of as much as possible. Life is never dull….Life is a Melting Pot!