I couldn't help but notice your posts about cleaning out your mother's house. My sister and I had to do that after Mother died 8 years ago. I think Mother had saved every UPS box from Home Shopping, every jar and every piece of Tupperware she ever owned. It was a bittersweet time and I don't envy the job you are doing. On the thread where you were talking about smelling your mom's perfume.......My mother wore Estee Lauder Youth Dew. I still have her last box of dusting powder in a zip lock bag so I can smell it now and then. It's getting weaker, but I still have it.......Good luck in this sad, but necessary job you have to do. I remember that time like it was yesterday. Stay warm up there in Canada.
P.S. As I was driving around today in the car with the top down, I too was listening to the Bee Gees.......the Live CD, hubby gave it to me for Christmas...........I live in the South, it was 77 here today so I can get away with having the top down! Wish I could share some sun with you guys up north!
Dear BoosterMom, I think it is so nice that you offered these words of encouragement to Donna. I'm sure she will appreciate your post. It is nice to hear from others who have gone through the same experience. I was over at my Mom's the other day and we were looking for something and I made the comment about how much "stuff" she had and she said, "Yah, wait till I'm gone and you have to go through ALL of it." She is 73 and in very good health (knock on wood) but her comment really made me think that yes, someday I would be going through all of her "stuff". Not a task I am looking forward to as I never think of my Mom as being old or facing the fact that she won't be here forever. (I should say my parents since they are both still with us). I am a very sentimental person to begin with so I'm sure it will be a very tough thing to do. Have a Good Day
Mother used to say that to us too and we told her it sure would make us feel a whole lot better if she would either start throwing away or giving away so we didn't have to do it. It became a running joke when either I visited or would call. Mother would say, "The UPS man brought me some more boxes for you girls to throw away." I gotta tell you, I just about wanted to save them just because they were my mothers...........You will get sentimental about EVERYTHING, even the stuff you can imagine being that way about. My mother saved aluminum foil. Growing up in depression years, I guess she just couldn't bear to part with it. She'd wash it off, dry it and fold it up in little squares and put it in a drawer. I had a hard time throwing it away too.
Enjoy your parents, I'm sure you do............don't you wish we could keep them forever. Guess it scares me that one day my children will be saying the same thing about me..........wait........I think they already are!
I too have been doing the same thing as the "other" Donna. It really is bitter sweet, my mom too saved all the boxes from home shopping, OY! Also I think every piece of mail for years and years. My poor shredder has had a real workout, and we just got it this past Christmas. We have decided to hire someone to have an estate sale and just sell everything thats left in the house, we've all gone through things and divided what everyone wanted, so I hope this is a success, its certainly a lot of work and brings back so many memories, especially since it was the house I grew up in.
Fortunately, I have not had the awful/sad job of going through my mother's belongings. Since she suffers from dementia, she has had a conservator for a year now. It was his job to go through and get rid of stuff. My mother was a pack rat, too. We begged her to at least label the antigue things so that we would know what to hang onto, but she refused to do it. An incredible amount of stuff simply went to the garbage place. Last summer, Mother's little town had a city-wide garage sale, and a lot of her things were sold then. The conservator saved old photos and some of my old things from school. The house is now in the process of being sold, and my mother resides in a care facility in Minneapolis.
Boostermom, Daneen, and "otherDonna", thanks for the encouraging words. It's nice to know somebody else understands. My mom was a saver too - she saved every box that ever came into the house, "just in case" she needed to wrap a Christmas present or something. Not to mention EVERYTHING was wrapped in plastic bags and tied with twist ties. I have had to throw away endless garbage bags full of empty boxes and plastic bags. And paperwork! Fortunately I also found a shredder, so the private stuff will be shredded, but the junk has already gone. It's been a tough, but interesting job, finding little treasures, old photos, and lots of memories.
The most interesting? I found 2 boxes of Hannukah candles, and a bag full of Hannukah cards, and we're not even Jewish!!
You know, posting today has brought back so many memories. I remember when going through drawers I told my sister that I wished we would find something from mother like a letter to us or something. The day when our two families as well as my deceased brother's three girls were at Mother's house dividing up pictures, furniture, etc., I was getting the grandfather clock ready to move. Mother had always told everyone that the grandfather clock was mine because my daddy and I built it the year I was a senior in high school. Daddy bought a kit from Emperior Clock Co in Fairhope AL and we put it together, mitering corners, sanding, staining, etc. When I opened the top door where the clock face was to put some bubble wrap over the clock hands, I found a note taped to the inside of the cabinet, "To Donna, With Love Mother & Daddy". I still cry when I look at it. My sister said, Well, I guess you got your note from Mother. OK, yes, I'm a Donna too. My sister named me and can't to this day tell me why she named me Donna. She was 18 when I was born so it had to have been a song or something! Memories, girls, let's cherish them and make more for our families.
I don't believe it! Another Donna on the board! That is the reason why, at work, I am known as Donna-Lee, because when I started working there, I was the 3rd Donna on staff, so they used my middle name! Now I am the only Donna left, but I still cringe everytime I hear "Donna-Lee!" because, as you all know, only mothers who are mad at you use your middle name!
I love it!!!! We gave "our" nephew a 21st birthday card today that said, "Live it up on your birthday. Do something that would make your parents use your middle name!"" I know
I would cringe if I heard someone say Donna Lynne! Good luck with your Mom's stuff...know it's hard thing. Glad you've got friends to help (and I hope some family).......see you around the boards!
Did you get to help in the decisions or did the conservator make them all with no family input? That would be tough..............but in a way, having someone else make those hard decisions.........well.......has it's advantages, doesn't it? I know what you are going through must be hard. I've always wondered if it would be harder for your mind to go and your body stay healthy, or your body to go and your mind stay alert........I don't want to get old........well, older..........
Donna Lynne, you won't believe this, but my friend who came this weekend to help out - her name is Donna Lynne too!! It was pretty funny when she joined my Gr. 5 class almost 40 years ago. We were not only 2 Donnas, but 2 Donnas with the same middle initial and the same last initial!! Poor teacher took to calling us Donna 1 and Donna 2!
I can relate so much with what you have written. My Mother has been gone for 2 1/2 years. My 2 siblings and myself cleaned out her house. My parents were from the depression era also. Mom saved every jar she ever opened since 1960! She also saved tin foil, twist ties, cool whip containers, plastic bread bags etc and that is just in the kitchen! She also saved every birthday card, Mothers Day card etc. By the time we got to the cards I was grabbing handfuls and stuffing them in garbage bags but my sister who works a lot slower than I do was opening the cards and reading them. I was glaring at her doing this when money fell out of one of the cards. We looked at each other in disbelief. I quickly dug out the cards I'd thrown away and we went through each one. It turned out to be quite a bit of money and gift certificates. We also found money in her sock drawer, her underware drawer, in with dish towels in the kitchen, in the freezer and also in with her quilting patterns. Why Mom did this is beyond us. She was of sound mind when she passed away. We laughed and had the best time because once again Mom surprised us. It is hard to have to make decisions on what to keep and what to throw away. I have regrets on a few things that were discarded but there is nothing I can do about it now. The best advise I can give is take your time and have few regrets.
You mother was sending you surprises wasn't she? She probably thought long and hard about what you would think when you found it. Had she not been one to save everything, she probably wouldn't have had a daughter (your sister) who opened every card and read it!!!!! I had to laugh......my sister did that too. Although we didn't find any money, we did find some pictures and some cards from us to Mother or our children to Mother. We ended up saving as much as we threw away. I have many of Mother and Daddy's freezer containers. I guess I had been married 20 or so years before I realized that you could freeze something in Zip lock bags and that it didn't have to be in freezer containers. I kept the ones they had written on. I think we had 16 big black garbage bags of freezer containers that didn't sell at the estate sale!!!!!!! They were gardeners and "put up" stuff all the time. What I'd give to have some of Mother's homemade vegetable soup, corn and purple hull peas right now. Gosh I do miss them so much.........My sister still has the box of family pictures and keeps wanting me to come for a visit just to go through pictures. I need to do it, but I feel it would take days...maybe this summer before cruising!!!!
Donna #3 (I guess Rollerdonna is #1, Donna chat host is #2, can I be #3???)
My DH's parents died 8 days apart back in Spring of '03...... so DH and his sisters had to do all of that stuff...... since DH was executor and handling all the financial stuff, his sisters did most of the sorting,saving, tossing, etc. After the house sold, my daughter,sil, and I rented a U-Haul truck and drove across the state to fetch all the stuff that was coming to our side of the family. After we had packed everything up and I was looking around to be sure we had everything, it suddenly dawned on me that I would never be in that house again. They had lived there since 1956, long before I knew them. I had been coming there since 1968. I just broke down..... couldn't help it. I guess I had finally realized that they were gone for good..... very sad.
As I mentioned earlier, I have not had to go through all of my parents "stuff" yet, but we did have a huge "Rummage Sale" when my parents moved into a smaller house about 6 years ago. On another post a few days ago I mentioned my Grandmothers jewelry that I used to play with, and how she kept it in a cedar box and every time I smell a certain scent it reminds me of Grandma's jewelry. Well at that "Rummage Sale" we had so much stuff that I said go ahead and sell the cedar box full of custome jewelry. A women who made Cabbage Patch type dolls bought the jewelry to put on the dolls. The second she said she wanted the jewelry I wanted to say that it wasn't for sale. She ended up with it and I have been regreting it since. I don't know what I would ever USE the jewelry for, but I would have at least had it to look at. I mostly remember an orange necklace that I liked. Sentimental Memories...................
I've been reading this thread with interest and relief. Relief that even though dad died just a couple of weeks ago at least we had already had the close down the house event 2 and a half years ago when we moved him down here. I don't know where I would've found the strength to deal with 40+ years of stuff after his death.
Being a daughter of dementia (?!) I would have to vote for hoping my mind stays good and my body wears out......but then again....at least dad didn't know what was happening to him as the dementia progressed. In his mind he was always 3 weeks away from returning to his home in NJ.
I can relate to breaking down the last time you leave your parents or in your case your inlaws house for the last time. I took pictures of the inside of my Mom's house before we started dividing things up. I'm glad I did.
That house is the only home I've know except for my own homes. It is the house they brought me home to from the hospital. I have to pass by it everyday on my way to work which is sometimes very hard. I look over at it nearly every day. Some days I'm ok and sometimes not. There are so many good and bad memories. The good memories are of my parents being so thrilled with my son. They loved him so much. The bad memories consist of my teen years when I wasn't quite an 'angel'. I know this is part of life, losing your parents but, it sure does hurt. Hopefully time will make it better.
My parents built the house they lived in and that we moved into when I was in 1st grade. I mean they literally built it. I've got pictures of Daddy laying cement blocks for the basement walls. I remember Daddy contracting out plumbing, electricity, etc. but he laid the bricks, put up sheetrock, etc. I kept the light fixture from my bedroom. My sister's oldest son bought the house and surrounding property from the estate and did some remodeling to fit his family of four. I've been back to see it once. That was all I could take. I don't have to drive by it every day as I live 2 hours away. I'm glad they live there, it's easier than someone I don't know living there and letting it get run down, but I miss my old house. They've knocked out walls, done a big great room, enclosed the garage and made a big playroom/pool table room...........it's great, it's just not mother's house. My sister said it took watching her grandsons play in that house to make her able to be in it and not continually re-live old memories. One of my regrets is letting mother's old costume jewelry get away. At the time, I just didn't want it, we were so overwhelmed with all her "stuff", but I remember playing in her "jewelry drawer" and putting on her high heels as a child. She had no good jewelry, just sparkly stuff! She had a three string necklace of iridescent crystal looking beads and clip on earrings that were her "going out" jewelry. I wish I had kept those.
It's strange sitting here reading your posts as I put my 88 year old Mother in the hospital just today for complications of Copd and pneumonia with CHF. So needless to say I am crying sitting here reading your posts. We moved Mother down here in Va. from Mich. 5 years ago. But she has lived by herself since then. She sold the "family" home in Mich and we did what you are doing now,,,, sorting thru everything,,,,,,but we will again have to do it ,,,,a chore I am NOT looking forward too. Because she too was a child of the depression and held on to everything. I also have heard the comment "just look what you will have to sort thru when I'm gone" I had to laugh out loud when I read about your mom saving tin foil,,,mine has a thing for plastic bags from the grocery store. Well just wanted to let you know you are not alone,,,hugs to all of you,,,