Turning a Corner

Clump #49: Unload two boxes of sentimental stuff.

Day 18 of my 30-day, 30-clump, 30-post challenge … where I am currently clearing out a room used to stash my parents’ belongings a year after my father’s death, in honor of his birthday this week.

This is too hard!  I just called my sisters for reinforcement, and they were both out (unless they are now screening my calls).  Here are the two boxes I unpacked:


Some things in there were pretty easy to put right into a Goodwill box or a Fall Festival box — our Quaker Meeting is having its annual festival in October.  Great timing.  I hope someone will want to buy this beautiful Japanese fan:


One box was almost completely filled with framed photos.  Below are hand-made paperweights two of my sisters and I made in grade school. We will have to have a big picture-redistribution.

The red framed photo is from the first Christmas card my husband and I sent with three kids in it.  That winter was the most severe weather I can remember. Getting the photo taken and putting the card together seemed akin to scaling Mount Everest.  I believe the adorable outfits were from a very exclusive line found at a yard sale.


Okay. Here are the most difficult items.  My mother’s purse and jewelry box.  I need a sister consultation about these. And then the candle.

Here’s a piece of advice for anyone in the sad position of doing business with a funeral home.  Do NOT take a candle with a picture of your dear deceased loved one with their birth and death dates, the words “Celebration of a Life,” and in this case, a background picture of a golf course.  We lit the candle during the two memorial services we had for my dad … but now what?  I really don’t want to use it again, but throwing it away seems like a sacrilege.


On a lighter note, here is the empty corner.  Free from the weight of heavy memories and expectations.  Those canes lurking nearby are next.


And on an even happier note, I brought the pansy pillow and the album of pictures from previous clumps/posts to my mom today. She was pleased to get them.  One of the pictures in the album summed up my parents’ relationship.  Two different people (check out the body language) who made a yin-yang-like whole and who truly celebrated life:


Photos Unstuck

Clump #47:  Take down photos on boards and put in an album.

This is a tough one.  My father passed away last summer and I still have the two poster boards with photos I brought to his funeral in the study I’m clearing out.  I’ve been averse to disturbing them, but they remind me of the funeral, a very sad time, more than the fullness of his life.


I went to Target and bought an album.  I’m trying not to get too picky-scrap-booky about it.  Just put the pictures in as best I can, and write a few labels.


The thing is, my dad would not have wanted a shrine built to himself. Unlike me, he was very practical and organized.  The shrine I have inadvertently made in this room is one of clutter and neglect, the complete opposite of what he stood for.  Kind of like the shrine to inner peace, simplicity, and spiritual knowledge in the midst of stuff, stuff, and more stuff that I saw recently in a Pier 1 store.


This past Saturday was a low day for me, what with the crushing realization of how little I know about modern technology and the rejection of books (and, a little bit, of me) at the used book store.  I came home, checked the mail, and found a lovely note from the hospice agency we enlisted to help last year with my father’s death. The note was a reminder of my dad’s upcoming birthday and the writer sympathized with how difficult that might be. I didn’t need the reminder, but it was very thoughtful of them.  Here’s my dad in an early photo with his sister:


His birthday is this Thursday, and I will honor his memory by restoring order in a place of chaos.