With the sudden death of my older brother I am back up in Indiana cleaning out my parent’s home trying to get it ready to sell. I was Mom’s caregiver and I did a lot before I moved to North Carolina of trying to go through her things. I am now going through Dad’s things and my brother Mike’s as well as some left over things of Moms. I am having to throw a lot of things away and plan to sell a lot. I have been wondering if I am throwing them away too. Follow me below the squiggle for some thoughts on after the care giving is over.

Okay I am officially declaring that my Mom, Dad, and brother Mike were the three biggest pack rats in existence. Want some proof then how about four black garbage bags full of empty aerosol cans of starch, bug spray, cleaning and polishing stuff, etc. my Mom saved? How about a whole large file cabinet full of the same genealogy information in quadruplicate that Dad had already transferred to his computer? Or how about checking statements and utility bills from when my brother lived in Washington 25 years ago? We have already gone through one trailer load to the dump and will have a second to go.

I am discovering treasures though. I found two letters that Mike wrote from Vietnam that bring home the horror of war.  I found Mom and Dad’s original marriage certificate. I found the Army-Air Force Certificate of Appreciation given to my Dad for his World War II war efforts. I have found pictures and cards they treasured that I’m putting into scrapbooks for Mike’s daughter and grandchildren. There are small beautiful things that were hidden away that I’m going to display in my house. I have found all of my Dad’s 35mm slides that I will scan into the computer, Photoshop where necessary, and put on DVDs for the family.

The main thing I am having to do is prep the house for sale and sell much of their things. I have to let go of so much. I have no room for anything more. None of us do. Does this mean I don’t treasure what they had? No it just means that I need someone else to treasure their things. What I have most of all is their memories and their love. I treasure my life with them. I have some of their possessions but I have to be realistic and realize I can’t keep it all. It is hard though. I sometimes have to force myself to put things in the garbage bag or put sale stickers on them. They loved this house so much but I have to let go. It is hard though.

Originally posted to CareGiving Kos on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 01:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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