Forget about whining “it’s lonely at the top”. You worked your way up, so you could be there. Now you are. So, be happy. (sorry, but I’m crabby this morning)
Through no effort on my part did I become the last member of my immediate family. Believe me when I tell you – it sucks.
Every day I will come across something that I can’t wait to tell my sister, mom, or dad about. Except I can’t. And there is no one else in the world I can share it with. A thing that only parents & siblings could talk about, and I don’t mean deep dark secrets. The silly things you experience as a family. No one else can “get it”, even if you carefully explained the back history leading up to whatever it was, it would not be meaningful to anyone – except your parent/sibling.
These little memories, and the need to share them, are tough. But it’s the “stuff” – packed in boxes taking up half the garage, waiting for you (and only you, because you’re the last one) to deal with it.
Winter will be here next month, so the boxes have to go. This means opening and deciding what to do about the contents before we can park vehicles inside, out of the weather. I have no time to procrastinate.
It hasn’t even been a full week since the boxes arrived. My sister’s fiancé and his brother, drove a truck and large trailer filled with boxes for 670 miles, to give me the family “stuff”. Not only my sister’s stuff, but mother and dad’s stuff too.
I have gone through three boxes so far – opening one every day. One had my mom’s little diary/notebooks she kept when we were kids. The one from 1958 was only half filled in. The last entry was my birth weight and length. Mom was too busy to keep writing after that…
The second box had mom’s kitchen odds and ends, including her rolling-pin that she (and dad) got for a wedding gift. That will come in handy. I have granddaughters who need to roll out Christmas cookies soon.
The third box belonged to my sister. It had yarn and knitted blocks for the afghan she started while we were taking care of mom. Seeing the bright-colored squares brought tears. We both were working on afghans during that time, to help us stay sane. I tell myself I must try to finish it someday, and put it with my craft stash.
Today’s box? I have not gotten it from the garage yet. Truth be told, I am still in my jammies, drinking too much coffee, while I write this. As I think about which box I might choose today, it occurs to me (I am waking up now) that I will have to open more than one box per day, to be finished by November. Is that good or bad? Is the “getting it over with” approach more beneficial emotionally than “strolling down memory lane”?
Leave it to me to take a different approach, a merging of the “getting it over with” and “memory lane”. I’ll call it the “sorting” approach. I’ll do an initial sorting of items (keep for the kids, Good Will, and mine). Then the old “just crap” that should never left at mom’s house to begin with, can go to the dump.
I can “stroll” as slowly as I like this winter. Savor the love letters mom kept in a special wooden box (from the guy she didn’t marry), family history told in scrapbooks my mom put together as well as files researched with the genealogy society. Now completing our family tree is up to me. I haven’t found mom’s computer yet, but a lot more files are on there too.
Suddenly, I feel overwhelmed and sorry for myself.
I already have boxes of STUFF stacked in my office because I don’t have shelves or cabinets to put things away yet. Now here comes another house-full of STUFF to get shoved into the corners and crevices of my new house.
After giving myself a pep-talk about taking it one day at a time, and not to get my panties or (blood-pressure) in a bunch, I decide to suck it up and get dressed in my grubby un-packing boxes clothes. If there’s one good thing about being last, it must be that you can keep or toss whatever you please.
Who’s going to bitch at you about it?