Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Last in Line

Last night, as I sat in bed I was reading a selection of emails that I had in my inbox from earlier in the day. One of those posts was this inspirational post from Susan at Lost Relatives.

I had admired Susan last year when she dealt with the passing of her father and the subsequent house move, packing, sale and disposal of her father's estate. I never once dreamt that just three months later I would be dealing with similar issues and I have nowhere the amount of courage that Susan demonstrated.

As I write this Mum has only been gone three days; and they have been three very long days.  The first few days were waiting for the paperwork to be processed in order to register the death and arrange the funeral; and I have appointments scheduled for tomorrow so that I can deal with those practical necessities. During the few days I have been to Mum's home and it seems so very wrong to be at her home contemplating removals, sales and disposal.

One of the things that the last few days has shown me, is that when the time comes, all that is physically left is a series of objects and belongings. I need to be able to deal with the practical aspect of unravelling Mum's home. Making decisions and dealing with the feeling of guilt as I make those decisions. There seems to be a callousness about it all and I hope that I do as Mum would have wanted.

One of three quilts that Mum was in
the midst of making
As I glanced around her home there were memories attached to many things. Mum's Aynsley China collection which represents many birthday, Mother's day, dog sitting and Christmas presents. Her Kernewek pottery collection, with each item a memory that we spent many hours seeking out items to add to the collection. As we came across an item of interest there was always a debate as to whether Mum already had the item. I suggested a list more than once, but Mum always said that took the fun out of it and that she liked the debating.

All her sewing and quilting materials and fabrics. Many pieced out on her dining room table which was how it was when Mum went in to hospital. From glancing at it, Mum was working on several projects. Her books, many about gardening and a complete collection of Danielle Steel books. Then there is the photographs, DVDs, kitchen, bathroom items and much more. There are also many things that were my Grandmother's that Mum had kept and now, come to me as the last in the line.

It is still early days and I know that I need to firm up and draw inner strength to deal with the practicalities. I feel that Mum will be looking over me, as I stumble along the path ahead, making decisions and dealing with the emotions of it all.


  1. I won't say it becomes easy because it doesn't. However, if you are the only one left, you don't have to deal with dividing the things up. You only have to choose what to keep. Believe me that is easier.

  2. My sister and I did this job together and fortunately agreed on everything. We took the time to look at the things that mattered; we laughed, we cried, we puzzled over some funny things our mother kept for years.Our mother, in her wisdom, had asked each of us what family treasures we wanted several years earlier. The rest we made individual decisions about. It's not easy, no, but the job has its pluses - just try to take time to enjoy those. With you in spirit, Julie.

  3. Julie, you have been in my thoughts the last several weeks and especially the last few days. Again, my sincere condolences to you on the loss of your Mum. It's never easy, but somehow we manage to find the strength to get through these times. Be assured that as you go through your Mum's things, she will be guiding you on what to keep and what to let go.

    We all grieve and heal in different ways and on different timelines. Whatever decisions you make in the next few days and in the coming weeks are what is right for you.

    My love to you across the miles, my friend.

  4. Anonymous11:01 am

    This is such a lovely post about a very difficult time that most of us have to face.
    That china collection must be so precious to you.
    Keep strong, Julie - I am sure that your mother is watching over you, and always will.
    Emma x.

  5. Anonymous5:31 pm

    My sympathies to you - I and my siblings went through this last year, when our mother died. My thoughts - if you're not sure about keeping something or not, then hang on to it for a while until you know what you want to do with it, don't be too quick to whisk it down to the charity shop. I felt as if I was taking my parents' home apart; I don't think you can get away from the feelings like that. You may end up keeping the daftest things, because of the memories that they represent. If you can, don't rush; but on the other hand, don't keep putting it off. I'm sure you'll find the right time for yourself. And think about taking some photos of the rooms, before you start clearing them, as they are part of the memories of your mother. My best wishes to you. Sue


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