Have you ever been down that rabbit hole where one task leads to another and then another and you’ve forgotten what you were there for in the first place?
I found myself this week up in our garage attic, going though a box of pictures and letters I had saved when cleaning out my mom’s things. It wasn’t intentional. I was simply taking something to long-term storage. Before I could put the item on the shelf I had to move a few boxes around. That’s when I found the old tax boxes that said, “destroy in 2016”, “destroy in 2015”, “destroy in 2014”. So I pulled those off the shelf. Then there was this open box with old-fashioned photos in cardboard sleeves from the 40’s and 50’s and file folders labeled in my mom’s handwriting with her tax files. She had saved the instruction booklets for each year, too. Remember those?
I hit the pause button and started reading a letter from a brother my mom had saved and now I was saving. That’s kind of a weird thought; because I am SURE my daughter would have no use for this envelope if she were cleaning out my things. At the bottom of the paper, below his signature, was a note that said, “The gum is for Jo Ann.” Ah, sweet. But time for only a bit of sentiment as it was crossed out with a big scribble. What, did he chew it himself?
Anyway, having had 5 memorial services in as many months is maybe what led me back to those boxes from Mom. She has been gone for 3 years. When she died suddenly and we were cleaning out her home I was the one that ended up with the photos, letters and cards she had saved. Initially, I culled through piles on my dining room table, mailing some back to family members. Some went into the recycle. Some I just couldn’t, just couldn’t make a decision on. And I put it all away, up high in the garage where I didn’t have look at it, much.
I made decisions on a few more items this week, pushing the rest back on shelf.
In the midst of a lot of grief and national turmoil over the election of a new president, what I know for sure is that today is important. People are important. I need to love them fiercely while I can.
Oh, and dear brother, a box is coming your way.