Every January I take a week to clean my studio. 

This means reorganizing and tossing. It is an arduous job that you all know and love/hate.

But this week my sister and I are cleaning out my mom’s room, an even harder job.

Unlike the studio cleaning this  job has some great memories and laughs along the way.

It is much more fun to do the cleaning with a sibling and relive the memories with someone who knew and loved her as much as I do.

My mom moved to the Boston area after my step dad died 9 years ago to live with my older sister.

My sister has a three story two family home. My mom, sister and nephew lived on the top two floors of a very old and very large home. The first floor is a one bedroom rental. 

Mom had a fabulous room with TWO walk in closets, an external closet and a great bathroom right off the hall way from the main family living area. 

She was right in the middle of all the activity but able to just walk away from it all and close her door to a quiet, peaceful and warm room (warm was very important in an old house in Boston to an old person)

The mass of stuff she was able to cram into this room and two closets is amazing. I am not sure we will be able to get it all sorted out this week, as well as deal with all the legal affairs that have to be dealt with, and on a holiday weekend to boot.

We are taking daily trips to the thrift store, and packing up many boxes as well. It is so very hard to “rid” our selves of her things. But stuff has got to go.

We have found so far, 10 small cuticle scissors, 5 small night lights, 6 magnifying glasses, DOZENS of golf pencils, THOUSANDS of pictures (this is really hard), 50 year old clothes and hats, dozens of purses etc…

Each hat and picture has to be looked at and reviewed. It is exhausting emotionally and physically. But heart warming at the same time.

For those of you that have already done this you know what I mean.

But, if we don’t do it now it will never get done. It certainly makes you realize what to save and what to toss. I want to go home right now and start re-organizing my own “stuff”.

Talking to one of the bankers it was interesting to hear how many people end up (no pun intended) leaving this world around a holiday. 

Our family does what we call Fakesgiving and we celebrate a week earlier than the real holiday tomorrow. ALL of our family was gathered this year in Boston for a memorial to my mom a few days after she passed as we were scheduled to be together for Fakesgiving already.

It was a great tribute and send off to mom and a bitter sweet experience for us all.

We took each of the grand kids in her room and told them to take any memento that they wanted. NONE of the them took anything. 

Does this mean it was too early for them to process her passing, that they aren’t interested in this “stuff” or that they really aren’t interested in this stuff the way my sister and I are.

At any rate I will pack up and save some things that I think they will want eventually.

THEN when it is time for them to come and clean out my room they can have the joy and pain of deciding how to throw it away.

The life cycle goes on.


6 responses on “Cleaning

  1. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA

    So sorry for the loss of your Mom. Hope that going through all her things will bring happy memories, and laughter at a time often filled with tears. May God hold you tightly in his comforting arms.

  2. Bonnie

    I remember the process well. Mum lived in a granny flat on our property purpose built for her. One of my sisters and I cleaned her place…we had four boxes at the ready…one for each of her kids. I was told to choose first since she lived with us. I didn’t want to in case Desiree wanted what I chose, but she insisted. The most precious thing for me was her tin of buttons…all cut from worn out clothes. My sister chose her tin of recipes. It was the small things that we found had the most memories.
    The most wonderful thing is that Muttley and I have lived in the granny flat for the last fifteen years with hopefully many more to come! Who would have thought?
    Your nieces and nephews will thank you for saving stuff for them.

  3. Bobbie Brooks

    The shared cleaning will be the most difficult and the most remembered; stories triggered by the least likely; memories shared with slightly different views. Please save anything that causes you to ponder, particularly the photographs. It can always be donated one way or another at a later date. Or used in memory quilts. You and your sister treasure this trip down Memory Lane hand in hand with your Mom. It’s a chance for everyone in the family to say, “Have a good trip, Mom. I’ll see you later.”

    Many hugs and boo-boo bandages for the heart.

  4. Ilene Floyd

    Loved this picture of her room….even with some of the stuff in disarray. Looks like the elegant, classy lady she was….. You are her greatest legacy.

  5. Donalee Kennedy

    So sorry for your loss, it’s difficult no matter how great a life she had, or how you may have “played” it out in your mind before… it’s hard to lose your MOM. My heart goes out to you and your family at this time. I have to say it sounds like a cozy setting for her passing with you all there, and as you say a tribute to her. Mom’s are always teaching us lessons. My suggestion, keep some stuff for the kids for when they are older and wiser…. they may realize what a big hole has been created much later, and then realize they wished they had that hankie… or whatever.
    Hugs to you all.

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