Decluttering : Home

My mother’s tiny Florida home sold last week. Selling the house represents a milestone for my mother’s future care, and simultaneously, a new emotional river to swim through. This river runs deep, littered with floating memories and mementos. Porcelain Christmas houses, fragile bird statues, hand-carved armoires, and hodgepodge glass dishes, all tossed into a new rising current.

In early March, I fly down into another unknown, but I won’t be alone. I’ll be traveling  with my hubby and meeting up with my brother. Though a short visit, I’ll both see my mom and inventory her decades-long collection of breakable things. Some childhood tokens will undoubtedly make their way home with me, but the others, where will their journey take them? A dumpster? Another home?

Thinking about the inevitable emptying of my mother’s home, I am least looking forward to unearthing long forgotten memories of my mom, of the times when she was better, and missing that which will never be the same. 

In time, I’ll come to cherish those memories, but right now, I turn away, afraid of the grief, afraid of letting go. Much more than emptying a house full of stuff, I’m emptying out my heart, letting myself grieve. 
Grief is painful, yet when I let it in, oddly beautiful. When I surrender fully to the emotions of grief (because grief isn’t just one emotion, it is many-sadness, anger, confusion to name a few), my heart opens, pouring out like a river. My memories float along the surface and for a moment, catching my breath, the waves no longer beat upon me. No longer my enemy, the river of grief becomes a long lost friend.

Have you had to empty a parent’s home? What advice do you have?


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kathy Moyer says:

    I emptied my mom’s house Liz. You put your feelings so beautifully , grief yes, but with a comforting under current of love. My suggestion, if time permits, as you go through her things handle each item. Some items will have more significance than others. Allow the items with significance to take you were ever it leads with all the feelings, good or bad, and experience the memories they represent. It’s a validation of who she was, who she is and that she had a life with dreams and aspirations, many unfulfilled and many that changed her life in unexpect ways. We all have a story. You will find more of the story by going through her things, making peace with her – as always my thoughts are with you.


  2. Deb white says:

    Beautifully written love! Ik how difficult this is to do….all I can tell u is to save something memorable to both of u…I let go of everything after I found my mom dead…I regret not going thru stuff…I just couldn’t bear it. I’m still so very emotional after all these years and don’t know how to process my feelings. Know ur memories will always be there…..the stuff is just that….but ur love will always carry on! Love u bunches!!


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