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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Joys Amid Chaos

As usual I am keeping a weekly list of joys. I plan on sitting down on New Year's Eve and rereading each weeks joys. Though I can find something joyful every single day, I believe on that day I might just decide that, even with the daily joys, 2020 has not been a fun year.  I am not yet ruling out the possibility of a zombie apocalypse, vampire attacks, or an Alien invasion!

Wednesday: Sometimes grief comes out of the blue and hammers you. I had one of those days on Wednesday.  I think the biggest joy I had was Son2 who stayed on an accidental FaceTime (Pip organized a group call then left us) and let me cry without trying to "fix" anything. He just talked to me and did help me to see that my sister and I had done a lot for Mom for years, and circumstances beyond our control were such that we could not be with her at the end. I still feel guilty though and well up just from thinking about it.

Thursday: We sold some more tablecloths from Mom's vintage stash which was nice and my sister and I organized the clothing donations. OK we organized her hall closet and her dresser drawers, which only leaves the closet in her room and the closet in my sisters old room which is crammed with clothes. And no, we have not even begun to go through the boxes and boxes of shoes. We did find several vintage (I'm talking early 50's here) very dressy dresses. I think we are going to donate them to the costume department of one of the local theater companies. Mom and Dad  had season tickets there for years,  and loved their productions. She would love that some of her clothes might be used in a play.

Friday: What is better than waking up to a cup of coffee? Having that coffee while talking to a blog friend, that's what!
I finally got all of my thank you notes written and just as I was going to walk them to the mailbox, who should drive up but the florist delivery van. I do appreciate the  beautiful flowers, from my cousin, and now I am not through writing my notes. BTW the delivery man has been here so often, he  and I are now on a first name basis. Today Donald told me he could not deliver flowers without stopping at my house first. I am surrounded by fantastic, kind, loving people. So much more than I deserve.
Later my four adorable neighbors and their moms came to swim. One of them has a severely compromised immune system so the entire family is in strict lockdown. I can shock the pool the night before they are coming and they can have a pristine pool all to themselves. Maybe it will give the moms a sanity break, have somewhere for the girls to burn off some energy, and feel like they are getting to go somewhere instead of just walking two doors down.  I love morning swimming, but if they want to swim I can do laps later in the day.

Saturday: We woke relatively early to get out in the yard. The day was gorgeous and birds were singing everywhere. When it got really hot we took showers and went out to do a couple of quick errands.  I found some beautiful plants at HD. We were in the store just a brief minute, and spent most of the time in the outdoor garden center, carefully observing social distancing.  After that we ran by an open air produce market then hit Aldi for a quick shop (probably no longer than 5 minutes)  Mooyah Burger is in the same shopping strip as Aldi, so we phoned in our order and picked it up on the way home. We spent the remainder of the daylight outside working then ate a quick meal, took another shower and watched The Night Manager. (Amazon Prime Video)

 Sunday: We started the day with streaming church services followed by a Webex Sunday school class. After working hard Saturday, we had slower day.  Son2 and DIL2 stopped by for a visit (I have really missed seeing them) and he planted  potatoes for me along with a couple of squash plants he brought me. They are a wonderful couple and it makes me so happy to see them.

Monday: This was the day for My Beloved Sister and me to sort through another set of drawers and closet. We have decided Mom was the best packer in the world. Her house was always neat and tidy, but the sheer amount of stuff she had squirreled away in every available space is phenomenal.
As of right now, we have cleared out her bathroom, the hall bathroom (except for one shelf in the bathroom closet filled with flower vases) her bedroom dresser, chest, night stands, and closet (except for about 40 boxes of shoes) and the guest room (except for her dressy dresses and coats which we will try and donate to either a local theater company or women's shelter when the weather cools). So my joy would be that another space has been emptied. I am also joyous that we have no set time limit to be through, or to put her house on the market.

Tuesday:  I had listed several things on a local FB selling site. We decided it would be fun to see if we could sell anything, plus we have to get rid of some things before we can even think about having an estate sale. We still have many more rooms/closets/cabinets on the main floor, plus a finished basement, a two car garage, and a workshop to go through, and we are running out of space to put things. Ei yi yi!
I sold 4 chairs, rollator and bath seat, with a sale pending for 5 glass Christmas trees and a bed alarm. This brought the total to 12 sales in 3 days.  I am happy to be rid of it, and mostly happy the woman who bought the rollator really needed it. Win/win! 

28 comments:

  1. I found it helpful to put a certain color of sticky note on every drawer, cabinet, closet, etc. as they were emptied. Other colors of sticky notes were assigned to a particular person and their items got that color sticky. It was helpful to put small items for each person into one of the emptied cabinet with their color sticky attached. I hope that that makes sense. It was helpful to see the sticky notes and to see the visual progress of what seems to be an endless task.

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    1. It does make sense. We just have cardboard boxes and are putting items anyone wants in "their" box. So far no one wants much at all, just because we all have our own homes and our own things. The small sentimental items are what we each want, which means we have a lifetime of accumulation to get rid of.
      Also because Mom was no longer herself for a couple of years, we are having to go through each pocket, bag, box, or pouch with a fine tooth comb just to make sure we are not overlooking anything she might have stashed away. We have already made several "finds".

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  2. I'm glad son 2 was there for you. Grief is a very personal things and how we handle it varies from person to person, but, I know that I would burst out in tears for several months after my mother's death. You and your sister are making good progress in going through her house and belongings. I like the idea of donating some of her clothes to the local theater company. :)

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  3. I am usually a very stoic person and it is very much out of the ordinary for me to cry, but I did last week and I do appreciate hi just being on the FaceTime call with me.
    Mom's sitters always said they had nothing to dress Mom in. Right now her queenside bed is filled to overflowing with big black garbage bags filled with clothes. Each bag is about 2 1/2 feet tall. I have no idea why they found finding clothes to dress her in impossible. Maybe they just liked keeping her in one of the 16 pairs of pajamas we found. (Yes, we counted them) Now they will sit there until we find somewhere to come get them. I know a couple of local charities are taking donations, but only ones they pick up and they pick up by zip code. It looks like we are 3-4 weeks out.

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  4. Your Mom was lucky to have two daughters who cared for her as you and your sister did. There are many who don't have this. I do feel really bad for everyone that has lost someone during this time where they can't be with the person or have the normal funeral experience as in the past, that helps in the healing.

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    1. We were lucky to have her as a mom!
      Although we had nothing like a traditional funeral, we did at least have everyone who meant the most to her there, either in person or via zoom. Conversely the ones who loved her most were there and her service was such a sweet and personal service.

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  5. Maybe your mother did not want certain clothes or only ones from one drawer or closet. I know going through her stuff is bittersweet.

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    1. Bittersweet? More like overwhelming.
      Mom no longer knew what she had to wear or what she was wearing most of the time, but she always loved it when I told her she looked really cute. I think the sitters just looked in a couple of places even though I told each one of them and showed them the 3 closets filled with clothes. They would say they could not find socks but we counted 27 pairs of socks in her sock drawer. The same with her underwear.

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  6. I am so very glad that you continue to find/record the joys.
    I posted a you a card, but given our lockdown you may not receive it until Septemeber or so.

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    1. I received it, but am terribly behind on my thank you notes. I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to me.

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    2. Not a problem. I am very glad (and very surprised) it arrived. A card from California took nearly eight weeks to get here.
      Hugs.

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  7. You are making incredible progress on sorting out things at your mother's house. I know the overwhelming feeling of going through stuff. We sold my mother's house a year ago, and I still can't believe we were able to empty it.

    And speaking of thank you notes, after my father died, my mother had a fall that aggravated her dementia. She would forget that my father had died and we would have to go through the whole thing again when she would ask about him. It was hard. But we smiled each time because after she got over the shock, she would ask if my sisters and I had written all of the thank you notes as well as details about them. That was my mother--remember the thank you notes.

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    1. Little by little we are making progress sorting through things.
      Thank you notes are a must in my world and I am about a week behind getting them out. I will just be finished with them when another wave of cards or flowers come in,. There are also a couple of people who have been so faithful and kind throughout this long illness and I have drafted about 5 letters to them but have not managed to come up with one that appropriately sums up my gratitude and affection for their support and level of care.

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  8. I think it's good that you aren't pressed for time to empty your mom's place out. I know that would stress me out. But how wonderful to think that some of her 1950s style clothes might go to a theatre. I tell you, if I had the figure for it I would live in those fashions as they were just so elegant, although maybe out of place while I'm slobbing around my garden! And I liked The Night Manager too. I've always like Hugh Laurie and both he and Tom Hiddleston have sexy voices so what's not to love!

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    1. Some of her older clothes are gorgeous and have so many fine details. I like that they may find a different use also.
      We finished The Night Manager last night. Since we are still staying at home we find a series, watch one episode every night until we are through the season, then find a new one. It's kind of funny because before the Covid thing we really did not watch TV regularly at night.

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  9. I know I did a major houseclean when I was preparing to sell the "family home" to move up north here. I checked with my kids to see if they were interested in having anything, and of course they only chose to receive small items of sentimentality. It helped me decide what was important to me and surprisingly(?) it was photos and my crafting supplies. It needed to be important enough to spend money on to transport it here and important enough to find places to store it in case I moved into a much smaller space. Once I arrived here, it was so easy to replace missing items from the second hand store.It is difficult to sort through possessions, but I hope I have made it easier for my kids.

    I am also very glad that you are not racing against a clock. The pandemic has made getting rid of possessions very difficult right now. You do have the luxury of time, although I know that you and your sister would rather have it behind you. But you will have that time you need for grieving and consoling and rediscovering memories together. I'm so glad you are not alone.

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    1. We feel very fortunate to be able to sift through everything together, but we have both been amazed at the things we don't want and have no use for. My sister decided she likes one of Mom's sets of china better than her own now (boy tastes change over the years don't they) so she is taking 1/2 of it. It seems Mom thought 16 place settings was the way to go.
      We will have an estate sale, but I guess we will have to have it by appointment and require anyone who wants to come to wear a mask.

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  10. You mention your great neighbours, I would say you're a good neighbour too. I'm sure the moms and children appreciate the use of the pool.

    I don't envy you the clear out but it sounds like you and your sister are making good progress. It is nice that you don't have to rush the process.

    Take care and stay well!

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    1. I hope I am a decent neighbor.
      Cleaning the house out is going to be a beast before it is all over, but I don't know any other way to do it than to just dig in and get it done.

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  11. How sweet of you to let those kids in your pool, you really have made a tangible difference to their lives in this sucky year. Cleaning out the house may be cathartic, something to do - something to take action on (probably a little more than you want but it is what it is). I love these lists. It just shows us every day has something good in it if we look hard enough

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    1. They are really great kids. and their moms are pretty great too!
      I would trade a little less catharsis for less stuff to go through!

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  12. I'm happy for you to be supported by so many friends and family members despite needing to hold of some of the direct hugs and face to face love. Good on your son for just being there for you.

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    1. I do have some very good and faithful friends. I am very lucky.

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  13. I'm sorry you couldn't be with your Mom at the end, but you son is right you all and your sister did a lot for her over the years, and unfortunately circumstances beyond your control were in play. We didn't go to the funeral for my 25 year old nephew who died recently. I sent food over to their home twice, but it just isn't the same as being there. My heart goes out to you, Anne.

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    1. Oh Belinda, I am so sorry for your loss. Loss right now is so difficult, especially for someone so young.

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  14. I don't mean to diminish your feelings, but guilt should not be on your mind. You did so much for your mom for years. You did not fail her in any way. It's hard to go through people's things after they die, isn't it? It would be kind of nice if I knew that I was going to die and had a month to pack up everything and mark the boxes to explain where they should be donated.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. As soon s we get through with Mom's I am going to begin a mission to get rid of things I really have no use for (except for dishes. I know I don't need as many as I have but I love using different dishes)

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