Everything Has To Be Somewhere

Yesterday, Dave, my younger brother and I cleaned out Mom’s apartment. She died last week, not long after her 90th birthday. I was able to fly out from California for her party. It was a lot of fun. Mom had a rough night just before I left to go home. Just before my plane took off, I got a call telling me that she had to go to the hospital. She wasn’t doing well, and Dave  gave me the heads up in time for me to get a flight from California back to New Jersey. We both were by her side when she passed away.

I’ve been in New Jersey now, for a week and a half since Mom died. I am glad that she seemed to die peacefully and without pain. Although it was truly odd to be there when she was living one moment and not living in the next. I am sure that I haven’t started grieving yet since I have not had that crushing sadness that everyone talks about. I think that the joy of seeing my cousins whom I haven’t seen in years mitigated my sad mood. I am fairly good at compartmentalizing and take any opportunity to do so.

The happy feelings at seeing my cousins were replaced by a combination of nostalgia and reflection as Dave and I began to empty Mom’s apartment. I learned some things I hadn’t known before; certain objects I remembered resurfaced.  However, the time constraints of vacating by end of the month made us accelerate the process. As I suspected, my careful labeling of boxes and photographing all the contents went by the wayside as we packed box after box after box. In the end, there were many boxes which had to be labeled ‘Miscellaneous’ since the contents were not organized. As the apartment emptied, time slowed down. It was taking forever. There was always something to put in a box.

We could say we emptied Mom’s apartment  “on time and under budget.”

Photograph: Mom's Birthday Present From Me - Watercolor

Last In, Last Out
Digital Photo

This was the last item to go: the watercolor I painted for Mom’s 90th birthday.

Meanwhile, at Dave’s. This is currently the scene:

Watercolor: Family Room with Mom's Stuff in It

Everything Has To Be Somewhere
6″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

I go back to California tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Everything Has To Be Somewhere

  1. I hung a like simply to let you know I read your story and let you know I’ve been there and done that. I know it’s a cliché but at this stage of the game – – it hurts too darn much to feel everything that’s going to hit. My husband and I packed out my father’s house in a long weekend to prepare for an estate sale. We, like you, lived out of state. We had purchased the home for Dad several years prior but the previous month before his death it was obvious he’d never return home and we had a buyer. Why do things always happen like that? I just wanted to drop by and say hello and let you know I understand those feelings and I still have times I go to the phone intending to call Dad and he passed away in 2007 on his 94th birthday. Take good care of yourself.


    • Thank you for your support, Sheri. It means a lot to me. Don’t know if or when things will hit. Perhaps I’ve been grieving on some level since I moved to the other end of the country. I question whether I will only feel the loss when I have the urge (like you) to pick up the phone and call to share something with my mother. Time will tell I suppose.
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      Best regards,

      Liked by 1 person

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