It is coming up on eleven months since Mother passed with Myeloma, bone marrow cancer. My baby sister Anne passed two months later with peritoneal ovarian cancer. My Daddy passed in 2011 with prostate cancer. Only my sister Fran and I are left. Fran and Anne were twins eighteen months younger than me. Yes, they named us Anne, Fran, and Jan!
My sister Fran is still teaching; her job is to handle the estate business and money transactions. I have been caring for the home place; I weed, trim, and supervise care of the considerable yard and camellia garden. The house is forty-eight hundred square feet, and I am the caretaker, maid, fixer-upper; I make monthly contact with neighbors, and perform other general upkeep issues. My husband is very much involved as well; though I revel in the times I am there alone to plunder through time. Lately I have become ready, willing, and able to relinquish items that definitely needed a new home. GoodWill and I are on personal speaking terms! As the months have passed, I have progressed to the clothing, and items no one wants, but whose existance was ever-present in their service to my family. Who needs an old ironing board? We did! Mother made sure our clothes were properly pressed, each seam steamed, and every skirt pleat measured and formed equally. Daddy’s old tax returns from the eighties needed no longer. No computer program used; Daddy’s tool was paper, pencil, and his old calculator, numbers long faded from use. I found the recycle center; I’ll soon know where everything is in this town; two cardboard boxes, the type seen on television when someone is fired and takes all their personal items out in one cardboard box; I’d never seen one in real life; but here I was scattering years of numbers, math, figuring, marking, erasing his life’s work-no easy task for me.
Each closet, drawer, nook, and cranny has been emptied; all that remains is now stored in the many cabinets in the kitchen, as well as in Mother and Daddy’s closet; all items paired down to the bare minimum.
Cabinets musty and dusty had a peculiar odor I’d thought part of the house-part of the town. No, it was a growth of time that only Clorox could extinguish.
Renewed and refreshed I left yesterday; oh, quicken my heart; inspire my soul; galvanize my strength in preparation for the final steps-transfer of ownership.
Dear Lord, You know how blessed I am to have had this time to laugh, cry, talk with my parents, my sister, and my grandmother that passed at one hundred and one years, never sick in her life, only that last month with pneumonia. This house only one year my junior, has heard our conversations from this world to heaven. You know, Dear Lord, that I have been visited there; never scared, I welcomed these brief moments telling me all was well; I was not to fear death; they were there nearby; “You’re doing a good job taking care of our past.” I am comforted.
The 23rd Psalm International Children’s Bible
The Lord is my shepherd.
I have everything I need.
He gives me rest in green pastures.
He leads me to calm water.
He gives me new strength.
For the good of his name,
he leads me on paths that are right.
Even if I walk
through a very dark valley,
I will not be afraid
because you are with me.
Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.
You prepare a meal for me
in front of my enemies.
You pour oil of blessing on my head.
You give me more than I can hold.
Surely your goodness and love will be with me
all my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Quicken: come to life; enter into growth and development