Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Mom's Stuff.

I've spent hours and hours this week at my parents' house and at my own sorting through my Mom's stuff.

My Dad has been working the past few months to get their house organized, as they hope to sell it in the next year or so, and he needs our help to do so when we're around.  So my brothers, sister in law, and my family have a lot of cleaning to do.  Because my mom never ever threw anything away.  Not even bills.  Have mercy.

I did take home a few special things from her house.  I thought I'd share some of it here.

Ashes from Mount St. Helens- they were always in her bedroom in a little box.

This was always in her room too, this rosary in this little pouch from my Grandma Vivian's beauty shop.  In pictures I realized this was the rosary my mom used at her wedding.

I also brought back tons and tons of jewelry- some very nice, passed down in the family, and tons of passed down costume jewelry from my grandmothers and great aunts.  I played and played with this stuff as a child.  Now my girls have a lot of it, and so do my nieces.

I've also kept some special pieces for myself.  Some because they are sentimental, many I'll even wear.  Some became much more special as I sorted through old photos and saw grandmothers etc. wearing them.

This shadowbox has an open/close front so I can take pieces out when I'd like to wear them, and still keep them safe on the wall and on display the rest of the time.

I'd never seen this vase before in my life- my mom had it hidden away somewhere.  It's about the most awesome violet pot I've seen in my life.

My mom was very sentimental and kept everything, but was never an organized woman.  You find the craziest stuff stuck away everywhere in her house.  You never know what you're going to get when you open a drawer.  So, you find things like this here and there, a clipping from when my brothers were boys.

 My mom's paint brushes.

I guess my dad gave my mom this sewing box, but she never used it when she sewed.  It always sat in her bedroom, under the window, and was completely full of my Grandma Vivian's sewing things from decades ago.  My mom sewed quite a bit when I was young, but every time she started a project she bought new thread, fabric, everything, and then saved the leftovers...and never used them again.  But she saved them, of course.  We had a ton of sewing things to sort through.

It opens up and is absolutely awesome.  I have fond memories of it as a child, thinking it was so neat, and that all the old sewing things inside were like treasure.  And they also smelled very, very old.

So I took home some of the vintage thread and thimbles, too, and put them together where I could see them. And smell them, if I like.

I brought back vases, bowls, things that were always in the house.

I also became the KEEPER OF PHOTOGRAPHS, of which, there are about 1,000 from my dad's family and my mom's, and my own family growing up, of course. 

My dad could never organize them himself, and it's something I'm passionate about preserving, so, I took home boxes and boxes of loose photos and documents from the last 100 years, and spent hours and HOURS yesterday sorting them into archive-safe boxes.  I wanted them organized so my family can come and see them, get copies etc, and I wanted them out in the open so my own family can grow up sorting through them whenever they'd like.  I think it's an extremely important tie to their history.

Here are a few pictures of my mom and dad when they were young, and I'm extremely grateful to have hundreds more where these came from.  This is how I'll remember them most fondly, I think. 

Our kids have been with Jim's parents this week, which I'm incredibly grateful for.  I'm so glad that after the services they could go run around the farm, chasing kitties and swimming at the pool while I worked to tie up loose ends for my dad, sorted this stuff out, and work on things like thank you notes.  Death is very, very busy.  I'm also grateful for my brother and his family who still live in our hometown, who have done an incredible amount of work for my mom and dad in the last few months.

And I'm glad I had these past 2 days to mill around my house, work on simple tasks, wander around at my own pace, create some art for my walls with memories of my mom, and just process.  Making order out of chaos.  It's how I decompress.  It was good therapy.


Blair said...

Megan I'm so sorry to hear of your moms passing. What beautiful memories you will have from all those special items! Thank you for sharing with us blog readers :-)
Prayers for your family...

Flip-flop Mama said...

I'm sorry about your mom, Megan. Thanks for sharing this post. . .you created some awesome things with her stuff! Love them! Said a prayer for you and your family, Emily

Lisa Kephart said...

So sorry for your loss, Megan. You memorialized her things in such a beautiful and meaningful way. What a great way to process grief through art, and keep her memory alive for your family. I'm sure this post doesn't begin to detail the complex emotions you're feeling, but thanks for sharing it with us. Much love and prayers for you.