I was reflecting on this last year the other day. My father died about this time last year. It was pretty sudden, at least as far as I was concerned. Turned out later that he had known he had a problem that could be fixed with corrective surgery but was reluctant to do it. And he was private about it-I only accidentally found out he was in the hospital-he probably thought he would be in and out and no one the wiser about why he was in. But, sadly, he passed away after 6 weeks in the hospital, at a hospice that was a wonderful place. I know the last year has been very hard on my mother-the grieving process is long and hard.
But what I want to talk about here, as I wipe away tears, is about stuff. Stuff that belongs to someone, that is warp and woof of a person's life. My father believed, I'm sure, that he would be able to get out of the hospital, even while gravely, ill, in order to put his affairs in order. He was already a super organized person but he wanted to be able to go home and take care of the remaining details. He couldn't. So, after his death, we cleared out the garage of a lot of his stuff, mostly tools and gardening things, etc. Just stuff. Some of it I kept because it was in good condition, some of it I kept even though it was rusty or old because I remembered my dad using it, and some of it got carted off, eventually, to the dump. A lot of it still hasn't even been organized, things like nails and screws and saws... I fixed up the chicken house one day last year and I thought about my dad while I was doing it, using one of his saws.
My brother had moved a few years back to the east coast and I went with him to a storage unit in Austin and brought a lot of things home. That includes, for example, a bookcase that he had that he loved. I think about my brother when I see the bookcase.
My aunt asked me to take home some ceramics from a shed my grandmother had put up. A huge hailstorm had destroyed the roof and all the contents were being rained on. I took a lot home at that point, and was asked again recently because there was a lot left. I filled up a bunch of boxes and took them to the citizen's center ceramic club. They greatly appreciated getting the items which were bisqueware or glazed, and I felt really good being able to pass on items that had meant so much to my grandma. I know nobody else in this town will know what those items meant to me, it is just stuff. But it's stuff that represented my grandma's life and I know she would be so pleased that others were going to get enjoyment from the items.
I got a call the other day from a man whose aunt passed away in a Texas town some hours from here. He knew I had a strong interest in some things she had done in her life and some writings and asked if I want to come get them. I do. I know he loves his aunt but some of the things she did don't hold the same interest for him as they do for me. Stuff. And of course, it will become stuff in my garage that I will need to think of how to disseminate to others that will also care. I really appreciate that he cared enough about his aunt to want some major projects of her life to find a home with people who care.
So that's the *stuff* coming in.
At the same time, this morning, I realized I have been doing some particular projects that are genealogy related for about 8-9 years. I've been doing genealogy for quite a chunk of my entire life, since I was about 14 years old, so it's not that I'm changing a hobby that I'm steeped in. But a few of the related projects take up so much of my time that it's time to let others be the ones to carry the flag.
Once I get these items settled, I think it will be like a huge spring cleaning in my mind and heart. And the *stuff* will have found good homes.