Last weekend we began the process of dismantling my Mother’s life in earnest. Hard stuff. Seeing her life reduced to the banality of stuff.
Lots of stuff.
But stuff nonetheless. Detritus. Flotsam and jetsam. And it just seemed so banal. So common. And I kept thinking as I did this hard work that she was so much more than all these piles of things.
So much more.
She was our world, she was our heart. She was our Alpha and Omega. She was.
But now all she is for us is piles of stuff. Tee shirts of every color and style. Forty two pairs of Jeans. Thirty pairs of shoes. Just stuff. And somehow none of the stuff that meant so much to her, that sparkled so much when she was alive, looks that good now that she’s dead. Like maybe somehow she was throwing some sort of magic onto all of it while she was here but when she left the magic left too…
And now that she’s gone, all there is left is stuff. Stuff that must go. Stuff that none of us need or want. Just stuff. So far I’ve cleaned out nine bags of it. So far. There will be more. Much more. She liked stuff. It made her feel secure. Which means that the dresser filled with picture frames must have been her personal holy grail? Yeah… another three bags for that one I’m thinking. At least three.
And as I did the sorting and bagging, all I could think about was her. And me. And how one day someone will have to do this for me. Someone will have to sort out my stuff. And I wonder what they’ll think when they do that. What will they say about me and my stuff?
Is what we leave behind? Is what remains after we’re gone a picture of who we were in life?
Stuff… that draws a picture of us… in cotton, and wood, and glass… that shows the world an imago that we never intended to leave behind. Such is the stuff from which a life is made.
Stuff. Nine bags. And counting. And nowhere in all that stuff can we find her. I know, I’ve checked, she’s not there. All it is is stuff. Leftovers.
And I want to just scream “take it all” because I know better than anybody that in all that stuff that’s going away, she’s not there. She is gone from us. For good. Because so far this death thing appears to be pretty irreversible.
So please just take the stuff. We’re keeping the memories, and the magic, inside of our hearts. She’s not in that stuff. That’s just stuff.
Lots of stuff.