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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Back to the Blog

Last week was the first since May that I didn’t write here at all. The main reason was that I was totally focused on getting my mom’s apartment empty by the end of January. I’m happy to say that mission was accomplished, with the help of many friends, all of whom were coaxed into taking a few things home with them. I also delivered four loads of thrift store donations, recycled at least eight bags of papers, filled a friend’s minivan with rags and things that she’s going to bring to a special recycling center an hour away, sold several boxes of jewelry and books, sold the couch my grandfather died on, donating a hearing aid and several glasses to worthy organizations, and carted an astonishing amount of stuff into my own home, which now looks like a flee market. All month I’ve been very conscientious about not putting in the landfill things that could be reused or recycled, but I finally reached my limit Saturday when the Salvation Army turned down some of our stuff. Sunday I started throwing things in the garbage with wild abandon, though I couldn’t quite bring myself to trash my mother’s enormous (and hideous) hand-painted picture of Jesus’ heart with a sword through it. So there are still some loose ends.

Aside from the time involved in the apartment clearing, I suspect I also didn’t write last week because it was easier to stay task oriented that to connect to my emotions. I didn’t want to reflect too much. I just wanted to get through it, which is how I’ve felt for most of the month. Yesterday I finally let my emotions rise up when I was leaving the apartment for the last time. I walked around each room—the rooms I grew up in—and remembered my father and the spot where my mother died. Then I took a small bottle of mom’s holy water and sprinkled each room to bless the mother and son who will live there next.

I still have plenty of stuff to sort out, but today seems like a good time to start thinking about what’s next in my own life. Starting a new book? Developing a new course to teach? Released from the care of my mother, there is a new freedom, but also a sense of uncertainty. I just ran into a friend in the coffee shop where I’m writing who said that after quitting her job last week, she doesn’t know whether to feel bereft or free. That’s a good description. There’s part of me that wants a new project to anchor me. But I know I haven’t done much grieving yet, and I shouldn’t be too quick to fill up my time. I probably need a little space to make room so whatever’s next can reveal itself.


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