The Long Way Home


Ten Hours
February 16, 2011, 6:32 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags:

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This past Sunday eight of us spent ten hours organizing my mother’s life into boxes, and we’re not anywhere near finished. I had anxiety all weekend, thinking of packing her things away, but even more anxiety thinking about all the things we’d have to give away. My mother was a collector; housekeeping wasn’t really her thing. I found hospital paperwork for one of my eye surgeries from 1979, along with my first hospital gown. My sister’s sequined prom dresses stashed in the basement. Old high school letters that still held a faint scent of amber. Recipes written on scraps of yellowed paper. A sonogram of my niece. Journals stacked in closets, next to her bed, on the kitchen table. And the photos – hundreds of them, tucked into books, into boxes. They fluttered out of pages as we shook paperbacks and shuffled papers. So many projects started with the intention of finishing. I didn’t grow up in the house that she shared with my stepfather for 16 years, so I don’t have that kind of sentimental attachment to her space. But I hurried ahead of Jeff  when I got out of the car so that  I could have a few moments alone with what she left  just as it was a few weeks ago.

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