My 90 year-old mother has moved into assisted-living at a rather nice retirement community. I'm relieved - as I feel it is best for her - but also feeling overwhelmed. It has been an emotional transition for all the involved parties but it seems like it will work out.
My mother previously lived by herself in a double-wide trailer in a 55 and older community which she moved into from the 2-story family home we all grew up in.
When she moved into the double-wide we attempted to dispose of items she would have no use for that had no sentimental value and discovered that practically everything had sentimental value to her. Now my sisters and I are working on sorting through everything she left behind and it is quite a project.
First, you have to remember that my mother grew up during the Depression so she saved everything. As she grew older and her mind became a bit less sharp, she still saved these things but forget where she kept them. So... we are finding dozens upon dozens of plastic bags (neatly folded and sometimes in bags themselves), paper bags, rubber bands, twist-ties and flattened and folded pieces of aluminum foil in several different drawers, cabinets, under the sink, in with the china and in closets.
Secondly, my mother wants to know that some of the things she cherishes the most are going to other family members so they, too, can cherish them. Most of these items have been re-homed - thankfully - but we are having a hard time with some of them. Her queen-sized bed, for one. Oddly her memory is quite sharp at the times when we really wish it would fail as she keeps asking us if we've found someone to take some of the items.
Finally, I have come to realize that I must have some of my mother in me. Yes, I save plastic shopping bags and twist-ties and rubber bands but that's not what I'm talking about. I also feel compelled to hold onto the things that have been in the family for years even though there is no place for them. Currently on my mind are some older pieces of glassware and china that originally came from my father's sister's husband's family. My first instinct was to try to attempt to find someone from that family who might want them but we've realized we no longer know of any living members of that family. Now we don't know what to do with them but I feel that we should not sell them and that someone should take them. I really have no room for them but the little voice in my head is telling me to take them anyway and thus far I have resisted saying so. I keep hoping one of my siblings will take them. Or a niece or nephew.
Most of the items will be sold off in a yard sale when we have all gone through them. I hope we are able to make a decent amount of money for mother but at the very least I hope that the useful items will find a new home.
For the time I am left contemplating just how many casserole dishes one person needs and how my mother came to own so many! I'm not even going to mention the clothing.
Image courtesy of ForestWander and found here