Thursday, October 11, 2007

In the Family

Kimberly called today to tell me that Lisa, a member of our extended family through Aunt Jean, had picked up the last of Dad's unclaimed furniture, and was exceedingly grateful for the gift. I know that Dad would be pleased; he always wanted to help others, and he would give away almost anything he owned if someone else was in need. The furniture was still in good shape, and I'm much happier knowing that it's going to someone in the family rather than being dispensed to a stranger. (Of course, either way would still put it to good use... but there's something about "helping your own" that seems more satisfying.)

On some levels, it felt odd to parcel out Dad's life in this way--and I know that Kim felt the same way, because she and I discussed it earlier this week. Even though I know that it would be pointless to preserve every belonging like some sort of a museum, there's some part of me that feels that each of these items were close to Dad, and that somehow they afford an iconic link to him. Keeping the belongings won't bring Dad back, though, and there's nothing here that any of us need.

I feel good that it's done. I also feel very sad because it underscores the irrevocability of Dad's passing; he can never come back, and we can never go back to the life that he lived. But there's a sense of finality in that that I think I needed on some level.

The sad hours are diminishing with each passing week; I still miss Dad more than I can convey in words, but I'm finding a balance, at least.

'Tis held that sorrow makes us wise;
Yet how much wisdom sleeps with thee

Which not alone had guided me,

But served the seasons that may rise

--Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "In Memoriam, AHH"


Janice said...

My sympathies yet again - as I've mentioned previously, my mom died very suddenly at a relatively young age (66), and my brother and I were in shock. Not only did we have to make all the arrangements for cemetery plot, funeral, etc, within a brief period of time (Jewish burials are supposed to be within 24 hours), but she was also in a rental apartment so while I was in LA, we went through all of her stuff. It was emotionally very trying -- we saved some sentimental things, put some stuff away for various family members, and then, after much difficulty, found a place that gave clothing and belongings directly to poor people rather than to a store like Goodwill or the like. In retrospect, we probably should have waited to do this but at the time it seemed like we needed to finish everything so I didn't have to make another trip and so we could return the apartment. It did help that she'd only been living there for about 8 years.

Hang in there.

cliff said...

Clothes were the first things that we sorted through; those went to a local charity, where they could do someone some immediate good.

I don't know that I could have brought myself to do all of that in such a short time, and I admire your tenacity in the midst of emotional turmoil. I was lucky enough to live within an hour's driving time of Dad's home--and since the house was paid for a while back, there was no sense of urgency other than preparing the house for Cole, Christy, and Oliver.

Thanks for all the kind words and loving thoughts you've sent my way; it meant a great deal, and I will always remember it.

Anonymous said...

Great shot of Aunt Dean and Uncle Don.
Pam Jackson