My wife’s grandmother has recently been placed in a nursing facility. She will not be returning home. The family has begun the often painful process of sorting the things in her home. There’s a finality to this that no one wants to talk about openly, but everyone understands.  Things are coming to an end much faster than had been anticipated.  Everything has a deeper personal meaning to it.  We are experiencing “The lasts”.  For instance, today was the last time we walked through Granny’s house.

The house sold much more quickly than anyone expected. That limited the amount of time we had to reminisce. It also cut short the time for closure. My wife walked through her grandmother’s house for the very last time to see all of the items that had been cherished for so long scattered on a table for public display. The ceramic ashtray that one of the kids made, complete with a handprint and “I Love You Granny” scrawled into it sits there with a price tag. How do you even begin to price an item like that. No one really remembers who made it. But it was precious to Granny. What do you do with a closet full of sweatshirts that say “World’s Greatest Grandmother”? You can’t sell them to someone else, for they surely do not have a granny as wonderful as yours. How about the refridgerator magnets from around the world? Do you remember the extra amount of time you spent picking out the one that was the perfect shade of Granny’s favorite color? Who cares if it was a 50¢ trinket from the world’s biggest ball of yarn.  It was a treasure that she proudly displayed for over thirty years.  Every time we passed through a room, we found one more item we couldn’t possibly put out in a common “Yard Sale”. 

So we brought home a pick-up load of stuff.  Mother’s Day cards made of construction paper and crayon, Barbie Dolls with the toes chewed off and hand made clothes to fit the Barbie Dolls are just a small sample of the riches.  We also kept a collection of children’s books and dresses for Girl2.

I have often teased my wife over the stuff that she hoards.  It seems as though every time the baby scribbles on a piece of paper, it’s a masterpiece to be hung in the Louvre.  The kid is about to turn three and as of this writing she is on her fourth “memory box”.  I tell her that this is all stuff the kids will have to throw away when we die.  These words haunt us now as we unpack and find a place for all of the memories we have brought home with us today.  Every box brings another wave of emotion.

I won’t tease her about this stuff anymore.  Well, I’ll try not to tease her as much.  Aside from all the psychological preperation this stuff puts us through, there is a certain amount… no, there is a great amount of peace that comes with the knowledge that these memories are still cherished.  The memories will last another generation. 

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