This weekend I’m heading home to Kentucky. I haven’t spent any quality time with my parents in more than a year. My mom tells me I’ll be disappointed that the organizing we did a few years ago is now in disarray. “It’s the worst it’s ever been,” she says.
Mom’s in her 80’s. I know as she gets older, it’s harder to accomplish all the things her once young and able body could do. She’s eager to get re-organized and downsize some possessions…. except for clothes. Clothing is a challenging category for her, so I won’t press it. I think she’ll realize, however, that she doesn’t need 30 turtlenecks.
It’s hard to watch my parents enter “elderhood,” but I know it’s harder to be in their shoes. Stamina declines, and let’s face it, time passes more quickly as we get older. The pandemic stole even more time while isolated during the Covid lock down. The situation calls for patience and understanding.
I’m excited to help my mom sort and downsize some of her possessions. I want to do this with her now, rather than alone later. She’ll share stories, and yes, we’ll giggle over her abundant collection of turtlenecks. I won’t pressure her to get rid of anything she’s not ready to part with. We’ll make lists of the important “keep” items so our family has the necessary information to make decisions in the future. We’ll make a lot of donation and trash runs. I know she’ll feel good about what we accomplish and the time we spend together. My dad, well, that’s another story. I hope that our work will inspire him to do some cleaning out of his own. I’m not too optimistic, but I’m prepared to meet him where he is. I won’t pressure him, but I will try to learn more about the items that mean something to him, so we’ll at least know what’s important, or of value, when he’s no longer able to tell us. Wish me luck!
Do you or your parents find it hard to get rid of things? What “treasures” will you leave behind?
Does this post stir any feelings for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.