My mother is having some painting done at her house this week. Yesterday I helped her to unload the room to be painted, taking down pictures and moving breakables. Now, my mother is on the threshold of 70, which truthfully seems a lot younger to me than it did twenty years ago. Several of my friends have already lost their parents, and I’m becoming more and more aware that my time with my parents is growing shorter.
Because I am an only child, I inherit everything whether I want it or not, and yesterday pointed up the fact to me that “everything” is quite a bit of stuff. My mother has her house decorated within an inch of its’ life, and with more than 35 years residence in the same place, I shudder to think what I’m going to have to do to process the detritus of my parents’ life together. This is not an advisable topic of rumination for someone who gets easily overwhelmed by volumes of stuff.
It’s been twelve years since I last cleaned out a relative’s residence, when my grandmother was terminally ill, and I was fortunate enough to have a very dear friend who was willing to come and sort things through with me, when my mother couldn’t bear to do anything further. And that was a one bedroom apartment, not a three bedroom ranch-style house. My grandmother had already gone through all her stuff years before and pared down. It was easy, now that I look at it.
My default setting is to not go around borrowing trouble, not investing the mental energy it takes to worry over some things. But the magnitude of what awaits me just sorta hit me yesterday, and frankly, folks, I don’t know that I’ll be able to get through that without a steady supply of adult beverages.