I have a closetful of memories, and I’ve managed to avoid it for roughly seven years. With the recent work I’ve been trying to do on my ancestry, I found it necessary to go through the closet.
When my Mom died in 2005, I packed a lot of things up and said I would look at them later. I boxed up scrapbooks, photo albums and music boxes, among other things. All these things were important to my Mother, and I had grown up with most of them. They were the only things I took from her house. My brother took the clocks, the glassware, and other mementos.
I was pleased to find in the very first box I searched some genealogy research my Mom herself had started in 2001. She wrote to the local cemeteries, did research at the library and had envelopes of information my Aunt had sent to her when she was researching the other side of the family. When I looked at what my Mom had found, I did find that unfortunately, I had some of the family members incorrect.
As I dug through more boxes, I found old photographs that I’d forgotten about. As I went through, I also felt the memories and the years catching up to me. I tend to deal with difficult issues by ignoring them. If I ignored the boxes of memories from my Mother’s house, it was easy to forget she was really gone. It doesn’t hurt as much if you ignore it.
I asked Eric recently if he thought my Mother would be proud of me and my schooling. He reminded me that she was always proud of me. As I went through what she had saved (all the details of her life and of mine, too), it started to hit home how very much she loved me. By the time I got to the last box and the huge family Bible that always sat on the corner of the desk in her dining room, I was ready to be done. I knew that the Bible held a lot of dates and names – births, marriages, deaths – that I needed to go through. I’d also forgotten that was where she tucked away all the important things – cards, newspaper clippings, post cards, greeting cards, etc.
I opened that Bible and started crying. It is full of “me” – cards from me, a postcard I sent to her while on my honeymoon, newspaper clippings from my wedding, Alex’s birth announcement, a birthday card Matt had sent to her, my high school graduation invitation and much much more. I finally had to stop looking at what was there and flip to the page of important dates. On the way there, I passed pages that said “Our Children”. She’d filled in all the information about my brother and me. Every school and every date is listed.
I did find some of the genealogy information. I also found a closetful of memories and full of love.