Public and private. What we leave behind.

A couple of weeks ago, I committed to writing daily in my blog. What I have realised is that some of my writing is better served in a personal journal. I have been using the writing prompts suggested by Sarah Selecky to do some daily writing in a fictional format that wouldn’t really work for the blog.

So that’s the story on my silence.

That being said, it’s been a busy week. I spent much of last week in my hometown, helping my mother decide what to bring with her from her apartment as she moves into a retirement residence. It also meant dividing up the remaining belongings between my two siblings and myself. At least, we started the process.

I arrived home with one of her sets of china and a good deal of crystal. Some books. Linens. Some kitchen things for my sons who will soon be living on their own. The furniture that she is keeping with her will be moved tomorrow morning. The remainder will likely stay for staging her apartment when it goes on the market in late summer/early fall. My spouse and I are well established after 30 years of marriage but it means a lot to me to have a special mohair throw, or the dishes that I enjoyed when she lived in her home of 40+ years. 

There were things that us three siblings agreed had to stay in the family. The cutlery that we had used all our life, that my father purchased in the 60s and that won design awards. The down-filled sofa that is perfect for napping. The wee brass lady with a bell under her skirt that we were given when we were sick to ring when we needed help. The stand-up apothecary’s desk. 

It all sounds very melancholy, but it’s not. My mother realises that we children will get enjoyment from these objects. She holds such material objects with sufficient detachment that she appears to be content that they are going to family, or even blessing others (as we’d say in the South.) Her books are mainly going to the library at her church of 50+ years. The documents and photographs will be scanned and preserved. 

I am planning to return to visit her next week. To help her settle in to her new residence with her own furniture and art. To go through photographs and documents from the past that will mean so much to future generations. 

Here’s a snippet from a Maclean-Hunter employee newsletter from one of the summers when my mother worked there while paying her way through medical school. These are the kinds of memorabilia that I feel need to be preserved



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