We are still clearing out my in-laws’ house, but we can see an end to it now. My husband has had a huge job clearing the garage of building materials and tools, and is almost done. Whenever we discussed moving with my in-laws over the last 20 years, my FIL would say, bewildered, “but what will I do with all my tools?” And inertia won out. Many of the tools were his father’s, and one item in particular – a lathe – seemed to centre largely in his concerns. A wonderful solution was found. A neighbour (and one of his very few friends) who had lived next door for 40 years, with her boys raised alongside my husband and his brothers, sought the lathe for one of her grandsons. Yes, it is sad that FIL did not have any grandchildren in New Zealand who could or would take the lathe. But this is the next best thing. I could see the burden lift from my husband as the decision was being made.
One of my brothers-in-law accused my husband of not being sentimental about his father. This particular brother has lived overseas for decades, and has made very few trips back to see his parents. I was furious at this, having watched the tenderness with which my husband cared for his parents, and then his father alone, in the last years. And pointed out that sentimentality is a luxury that perhaps comes from distance, not proximity over 30 years!
My latest task was to take all my MIL’s jewellery and send photos to all the generations to see what, if anything, they would like. Most of it is costume jewellery, but there are a few interesting vintage pieces. It has taken hours, and in this my husband has not been sentimental, as he suggests – barring a few things – he would just have given them to a charity shop. But I thought of the grandchildren, in particular the granddaughters, and how nice it would be for them to choose a piece or two from their grandmother. I have worked over it for hours –sorting the items, getting photos in the right size to send, compiling documents, etc – and wondered myself if I am crazy. But I do it for the grandchildren. Ironic, isn’t it?
Once again, I think about who will look over my jewellery. One or some of my nieces, I assume. It’s not as if I have a lot of expensive jewellery – I have few pieces that could not be described as costume jewellery, as I have always prized interesting pieces or interesting trips over diamonds! I hope that I will have any special pieces labelled or itemised, as my MIL did with her most precious four rings. It strikes me that I need to do this now, not leave everything until it is too late, as there are a couple of pieces that hold some sentimentality for me. After all, I could be run over by a bus tomorrow!
I promise I will finish these posts soon. We are about to engage a real estate agent, and put the house on the market. What then, I wonder? Will we feel empty, and need new projects? Will we feel ridiculously free? Or perhaps we will turn inwards, and begin some more “death cleaning,” this time with our own belongings? I suspect it will be a little of all of the above.