Genealogy + Grief = ???

Well, if you have been following the last few posts, you know that I lost my mother at the end of June.

I have been researching my family’s ancestry for 20 years now.  My husband told me once that “People die in your family and then you get everyone’s stuff”.  Well, that is certainly true for quite a few Great Aunts and Uncles, as well as a cousin who was more like a grandmother-like figure than a cousin.  I have been blessed with having many items.  A few years back, I began taking pictures and cataloging all the items – who gave it to me, what the significance of the item is, any history of the item, etc.  Most of the ‘stuff’ is being utilized in the house or they are photos that have been scanned and the originals put safely away.

Then my mother passed away and I have come to a whole new level of realization.

Genealogy + Grief = Hoarder?

My father wanted to get rid of all her clothes, shoes, etc. as soon as possible.  I think that just looking at the items hurt too much.  I, on the other hand, found myself putting all those items in my car for safe keeping.  We finally made an agreement – nothing goes out of the house without the two of us discussing it.

I took quite a few things home.  She was a painter – various media – she even taught classes so there are many items still in the house that she created/painted.  Where am I going to put them all?  Surely we can add an additional room onto the house, can’t we?

Then the epiphany:

No matter how much stuff I take/hoard, it won’t bring her back.  Period.

Wow.  I never really thought about it like that.  I basically wanted to have everything. Touch everything she touched.  Now the shear reality that I have no room or need for most of the stuff really hit home.

Since that time, I’ve given items to my nieces – one bought a house last year and one just bought a house over the summer.  Some of the items are even my grandmother’s.  I didn’t really realize how old they were until I was telling them the story about them.

Well, a few months later, it isn’t any easier.  I struggle with every item that is in the house because she made most of them.  I have decided to catalog all of them and do a few blog posts to document them.  After that, it is what it is.

I also had a few quilts made from some of her favorite shirts.  My favorite is the Disney quilt, which was all her Disney favorites.  She loved Disney, especially Tigger, Eeyore, Pooh, and Grumpy.

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Now when I am feeling bad, I can look at the quilt or even wrap myself up in it to feel closer to her.

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It’s the Circle of Life, Simba

Written the morning of 6/25/14. 

I haven’t blogged in a while.  I apologize to you, my followers.  My worlds have collided and I have been very busy.

You see, my mother was taken to the ER on May 23, 2014, in the evening.  She had fallen against my dad, he lowered her to the ground, but then couldn’t get her up.  He called 911.

When you go to the ER, they look you all over.  I showed up on Saturday morning to find my mother on oxygen, trying to breathe and basically out of her mind.  She was agitated to say the least and trying to get out of bed.

What would transpire over the next 4 weeks would have never been a thought in my mind. We went through possible kidney failure – luckily that has been corrected, a leaky heart valve, and lungs that have been damaged due to years of cigarette smoking.

Last Friday, her Oxygen saturation levels went down considerably.  Now, instead of a Bi-pap mask on only at night, it has been continuous.  From joking around with me and telling the nurses stories of past escapades – to having a mask on and basically sleeping.  It was like flipping a switch.

Now we are faced with those difficult decisions in life.  Wow.  I thought I would have more time.  I really did.  I guess everyone does.  I wanted so much more for her, but it’s not up to me.

I talked to my parents just about every day.  I told them that I loved them.  We were always brutally honest with each other and our “Circle of Trust” was a safe zone.  Be who you are and we love you anyway.  I find that I am in what I told the nurses as ‘business mode’.  I need to do the right thing and get it done.  After that, it’s one big PITY PARTY.

I’m thankful that I have had her this long in my life.  There are many that have not been as fortunate.  I am thankful that this only lasted a month and it was only truly bad for less than a week.  Had she bounced back from this, she would have always teetered on the edge of where she is now – even the smallest infection could put her in the hospital.  That is not living, either.

I leave this blog post on that note until I can come back and write more later…

After the initial writing of this post, my mother passed away that evening.  I will be sharing stories to help celebrate her life.  It is still very fresh, but I hope that through the power of writing and sharing, I can find a little comfort.  It is interesting why you do things sometimes – like this blog post that I wrote in March, thanking my parents.  I’m so glad that I did!  

 

Morgan, Carolyn Obit Schroeder Lauer

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