The night before the last night in what was mom’s house, I wake up in the middle of the night like I’ve overslept and there is work to be done. I reach up and push my hair out of my face and realize it is still wet. Usually, I shower, go to bed, and by the time I wake up, the mop is dry. But this night, it seems entirely possible that the amount of work to be done should require that I wake up before my hair dries. There is so much work to be done.
We have a pod that is now full of my mother’s favorite furniture, which is now my furniture. Mostly.
The garage in this house is made for two cars, but there has only been room for one. The space where a second car would go was filled with empty and mostly empty boxes. Not all of them belonged to mom, some had housed the stuff of the lady who lived with mom temporarily. They are all broken down now. No one had an emotional crisis over the boxes.
No, the emotional stuff has happened over other stuff. No one in this family would put much of a fight up for money, but the one particular paring knife that mom used on everything… A whisk that was grimy and old and a little rusty… one sister threw that whisk away. The other sister was only mollified because the old (frankly, gross) paring knife was still there. Had the paring knife been disposed of… there might have been fisticuffs.
I got feelings over a brand new cotton hat. When mom was still alive, the eldest of the sisters suggested a hat for the lady for her trips down to radiation. I found one at Ross. An earlier trip to TJ Maxx had netted an eye mask that she wore to block the light when she wanted to sleep in the hospital. One sister had that stuff bundled up for trash or donation or something and I had a minor melt down. Entirely not ready to have such things disposed of.
Everyone has their thing, this random item that served some purpose or another for our mother, and that random item makes for utter and complete emotional disaster. Luckily there isn’t much overlap on what those things are. No one is fighting me for that hat, and the paring knife is an easy item to part with. I mean, I get the paring knife. It is an artifact, both by way of age and by way of its use. If you were going to do a cost-per-use analysis of that damn knife, it was probably down to 1/100th of a penny by now. Or less. So my momma is in the grain of the wood handle. I’m glad someone has it. I’m okay that the someone isn’t me.
Eventually, I have to come to terms with the fact that I can’t have feelings over everything. I just can’t. There’s too much of it and we can’t split the house three ways and each absorb 1/3 of my mother’s life. Which doesn’t mean that I *don’t* have feelings about everything. I don’t mind that things get given away, I truly don’t. But the mattress she slept on. She loved it. She picked it special, she got exactly the thing that she wanted, and she valued it. Until it became something disposable for her (and it wasn’t there yet) I don’t like the idea of someone else treating it as disposable. This shit mattered to her and I want it to matter wherever it ends up.
Except, of course, that I don’t get to control that. So I’m walking away with way more stuff than I need, not because I want the stuff, but because I want control over how the stuff is treated. It’s insanity, but you just have to go with it. Maybe in a year, I can let go a little more.