It’s Lonely When You’re Last

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.

Even More Boxes

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?


9 thoughts on “It’s Lonely When You’re Last

  1. I understand how you feel. I felt awful throwing away so much of my mums stuff. But remembering how hard it was.. I had a huge clean out a while ago.. I didn’t think i should pile the same guilt on to my kids that i felt when i had to do it.. Maybe you could quickly sort through the throw out stuff.. then box the other up till you have the time to do it slowly? Enjoy the memories 🙂


  2. I feel like a loser of a best friend. I wish I could be there to listen to the stories; to laugh with you; to cry with you; to put my arms around you. I’m usually a pretty good listener. One thing I will try to remind you of, however, is that the Holy Spirit is ALWAYS there with you , no matter where you go and what you do! He will not leave you orphaned. John 14:16-18
    I’m not being preachy…..I’m being Godmotherly. Cut a mom some slack! Maybe if I can’t be a good BFF, I can try being a good Godmom. Love you and praying for you.


    1. Thanks “Mom”! I know you’re a phone call away, and you are NOT a “loser best friend”- is that shortened to LBF? Anyway, a 2,000 mile commute to be at my beck and call is silly 😉


  3. Thank you all for your comments of support and kind words! I am feeling much better (probably unloading in a post has something to do with that 🙂 ) The weather is cold and rainy today – perfect for looking for treasures -I am finding some cool things in some of those boxes!


  4. Hey Jodi, That is a lot to be going through, emotionally as well as physically. I always say it feels bad to realize you have become an orphan, regardless of how old you might be at the time. I hope you are taking care of yourself while you are taking care of business.


  5. So sorry that I am not there to give you a hand, or at least to talk to, I know how hard it is and how lonely you must feel. I could not have gotten through Mom, Uncle’s, and before that Biff’s house full of stuff without you and my brothers! When all is said and done, it is mostly the memories that matter and the things that you and Tanya want as remembrances! I am hugging you as you do this task! The other Sis


  6. Awww, Mom! I wish I was closer and could help more! I would love to look at those things with you! I think the same things! I love you!


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