I’ve spent the last two afternoons cleaning out her house and pulling up carpet. I’ve only made progress in the two bedrooms. I still have the living room and dining room to conquer. There is a lot to do there. She wasn’t a packrat or hoarder by any means, but she really didn’t like throwing certain things away. Like the six dead coffee pots in the spare bedroom. She loved her coffee and would go through three to four pots a day. It was almost all she drank. As a matter of fact, her mug is still sitting upside down in the sink where she left it that last day before she had to go back into the hospital, right where she left it. I haven’t touched it yet. Her final dishes are sitting, rinsed clean and waiting to be washed. I need to do that.
I’m finally getting comfortable being in her house without her there. It was really hard at first. I kept waiting for her to come from the bathroom, or the bedroom. I kept straining to hear her voice. She’s not there of course. I don’t feel right going through her things, deciding what to keep, what to toss. It’s been over two months though, it’s time to get moving, time to move on. What hurts the most are the three boxes of family pictures I have come across. The marriage certificates, death certificates, postcards, family heirlooms. The mementos of the colorful life she led. I have no one to pass them on to. She had no family left, to speak of. My daughter, fiancé and I will go through them I’m sure, but we don’t know the stories behind them, the names of those in the pictures, or how they were related to her. They will be just people in pictures, their stories dying with her.
I knew this would be hard but I agreed to do this for her. She didn’t want her belongings tossed into a dumpster by a stranger. I’m trying to make sure her things are taken care of. That others can make use of what she left behind, like she and I discussed. My son has her car, her neighbor needs a lift chair, so once I clean hers it will go next door. She didn’t own much. She liked it that way. Getting the house ready to rent or sell will be the challenge. It needs all new carpet a few changes to bring it up to a level most people would expect to rent or buy. I’m gong to have to change a few of her favorite features of the tiny little house, and when the hammer falls the first time I’ll hear her cry.
It’s time to move on though.