Monday, October 7, 2013

The Storage Unit

Today was a rough day. My brother has the week off, so he and his wife offered to help dad and I clear out my parents' storage unit. My brother borrowed a trailer from their son, and we went at it.

I'm a hoarder by nature. I can see potential in things that other people might see as trash. I'm not so bad that I save old wrappers or food or moth-eaten sweaters (okay, I can still see potential in moth eaten sweaters....) but it can take me a very long time to clear out a space because I tend to want to make the most of what I'm looking through, and not send useful items to the dump/landfill. I come by this trait genetically. My dad has the same tendencies.

My sister in law is... not a hoarder. She gets going on a job and moves right through it. Dish chipped? Trash. Dirty? Trash. Not used in a long time? Donate. A box you haven't looked at in years? (It makes me panic not to open that box and look into it) So she and my brother are the perfect people for this job. They are "git 'er done!" people. I appreciate them. People like me need people like them.

The thing is, we were going through what's left of my parents' household items. Mom's clothes. Linens. Knick-knacks. Tons of collector's plates (mom believed the hype that they would only increase in value over the years... unfortunately I've seen collector plates in Goodwill for $5-10) some of which my father didn't even know mom purchased. China - some painted, some partially painted, lots of it unpainted - that mom was working on when she started to go downhill. There is a lot of emotional baggage when you are sorting through this kind of detritus. Part of me wants to hold on to it forever, the other part wants to let go.

Did I mention the mice? Yeah, the mice found the storage unit quite cozy and comfortable. Some things had to be tossed, because you can never ever get mouse smell out of stuff.

In the end, we got an unbelievable amount of stuff sorted, tossed and donated. At the end of the day, however, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. My mother really is dead. I will never see her wear those clothes or paint that china. That mom has been leaving us for a long time, but now that she is really and truly dead, gone in every sense of the word, cleaning out the storage unit makes it final.

So hard to let go. Go forward.

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