24 February 2014

Once More, with Love

Grandma and Bailey at Grandma's 100th birthday celebration, December 2011

It seems like I just finished cleaning out my childhood home, but in the past couple of weeks I've found myself knee-deep in another one. Last week, we moved my 102-year-old grandma into a nursing home. Up until then, she had been living on her own. With my dad now gone, his executor duties have fallen to me so I've had to take the lead in figuring out what to do with yet another house full of stuff.

Luckily, my Grandma and Grandpa had an auction a few years ago before moving to this home, so the house was not nearly as full as my childhood home. With help from family members, we were able to move out all the furniture in the course of one day. Still, I've packed countless boxes and filled the recycle bin over and over. I've taken multiple loads to organizations in need. I guess the good thing is that, having been down this road before, I better understood the scope of this daunting task and how to do it this time around.

While this situation is very different than the one I faced last summer, clearing out Grandma's house still represents the end of an important part of my life. As I packed up her kitchen this afternoon, I noticed little bits of cookie dough still stuck to her rolling pin. I tucked it into my bag to take home. That rolling pin is a linking object to my childhood, and I'm not quite ready to let go of it yet.

But the most important treasures I brought from Grandma's house are her genealogy books. She's always been a meticulous keeper of family history, writing detailed notes and gathering information the old fashioned way -- by mail. Over the years, I've told her I'd be honored to keep her books and take on that role someday. Well, that "someday" has finally arrived. As I boxed up her treasured family history books, I felt the weight of responsibility. The torch has been passed.

Working through Grandma's situation has been difficult for me on many levels. I think of my dad each day as I embark on some new task or difficult conversation. These are tasks he would have tackled had he been here...heavy duties that he would never have wanted me to face. But this is the job I have to do, and I'll do the best I can with it. For Grandma, and for him.

1 comment:

Kimberly Marie said...

What a lovely picture of Bailey and your grandmother! My grandmother used to dress herself up in pant suits, too, as if everyday was a special occasion. She always kept herself up impeccably, and that's how I'll always remember her. She lived to 100 years young! I pray the Lord will give you strength as you dive into yet another daunting task, but somehow I feel that you will do this job well; very lovingly and efficiently until its completion! Blessings to you ~