The last two weeks were spent cleaning out Mom and Dad’s home. Mom passed in October and Dad is moving closer to me here in Charlotte this week. For 20 years, I have served others in doing this very task. What a bittersweet experience and very cleansing for me. Plenty of tears but even more smiles, which is the way Mom would have wanted it. So many memories came flooding in!
In cleaning out Mom’s closets, I was reminded of a conversation she and I had a few months ago. Wearing her robe, she escorted me to her closet one morning and pointed out 4 large Xerox boxes full of family photos from long ago. There, stacked neatly on the top shelf, these boxes took up quite a bit of space she couldn’t even reach.
Mom sighed and said, “Julie, when I die, I want you to take these boxes and throw them out or do whatever you want with them. They are photos of people you do not know; I don’t even know them all. So I am relieving you of the guilt my mother put on me. Get rid of them.” It was an Ah-Ha moment.
Standing before the closet without Mom by my side and feeling the pain of that solitude, that memory came shining through. I suddenly felt much lighter emotionally and physically, knowing I had her permission to do what I felt necessary.
Letting go. What a beautiful gift to give our children. We can’t hold onto everything, and releasing our loved ones from the guilt that binds us, offers peace we wouldn’t have otherwise. Thank you, Mom!
© 2011 Julie Hall