In the very midst of our grief, we are cleaning out my mother-in-law's house, bit by bit, load by load. Her house - her HOME - is filled, stuffed to the gills, with lovely, sentimental things. . . things nobody seems to need or want.
This makes me really, really sad. This makes me wish I wanted more of her things, but I don't. This also makes me want to start cleaning out my own closets and shelves and bureaus and cabinets, so nobody else will ever have to face that chore.
The problem is, I don't really have all that much, and what I do have, I love.
Oh, I know we're not supposed to love THINGS; things can be swept away in a moment; Mother Nature is good at that.
It also bothers me that my kids have already informed that they don't want MY things, either.
In my head are all of these related yet unrelated thoughts: WHY don't they want my things!!!! My things are beautiful! And, why don't I want HER things? HER things are beautiful.
The thing is, things are just that: things. Sure, we want things to remind us of other things, and of people we love. But ultimately, things are just things. Dishes? Statues? Furniture? When these things have been in the home of a loved one, they are no longer JUST dishes, statues, and furniture. They are Mom's dishes, Grandma's statues, and Grandfather's furniture. Aunt Sharon's sheet music. Uncle David's candy dish. Things lose their "thing" status when they are loved by someone we love, and those beloved things become entities in their own right.
How can we discard such things? But how can we not, at least some of them?
The Abused Women's Shelter is going to get most of her things, and I am hoping, hoping, hoping that at least some of those things become entities in their own right for other families.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some MAJOR tossing to do. After all, they're just things.