How do you appraise a person’s life? How do you let go of the physical things, choosing only certain tokens and special items to remember a person by? Especially when nearly every item has a memory attached to it?
Even harder is that each time you open a box, her unique scent wafts up and hits you full in the face to fill your mind with memories? One minute you’re pulling out a box from the pile, and the next second you’re looking at her “mother of the groom” dress, matching dyed shoes, and the small mementos she collected from our wedding. The rush of grief from missing her squeezes so hard that you are unable to breathe in the pain of it.
This weekend we found her jewelry boxes, her wedding album, both of her son’s baby books, the last set of birthday cards, and a lot of her mail, bills, etc. Going through her jewelry was more personal to me than going through her nightgowns. Like any woman, she had multiple jewelry boxes from different stages of her life. I know the resources guiding us through this process suggest selecting a few specific items and bestowing them on our daughters so they will have something of their grandmother’s, but I just couldn’t bring myself sort and remove any of the jewelry. My husband will need to take it to his brother and aunt so the three of them can discern what has sentimental, or real, value and needs to be kept.
After this weekend, we’re down to three boxes and ten filing cabinet drawers. I have mixed feelings about finishing the task. On the one hand, it will be wonderful to be able to walk through the garage, but will I miss these long, emotional, days going through her life?