I started with boxes that had "Jennifer's Grandpa's House" written on the outside of the box. If you've never cleaned out the house of someone who has just passed away I don't think you can really appreciate the need to declutter your house. Who needs twelve years of Christmas cards from random people? Nobody, that's who. My Grandma and Grandpa traveled alot and they held on to every single map and every pamphlet from every city they ever visited. For whatever reason, I felt like I should hold on to them. So they've moved from Iowa, to Illinois, to the first house in Wisconsin, to the second house in Wisconsin, to Texas and then back to Wisconsin. It's time to let them go. I also found several old pictures of my Mother's family and a scrapbook my Mom's Great, Great Grandma put together of their first trip to California. Very cool.
As I was going through all of this stuff, I had to decide what to keep and what to throw away. My Grandmother had all of the ribbon from the gifts she received at her baby shower for my Mother. She had all of the sympathy cards she received after my Mom passed away. She had about 30 pairs of earrings from the 80's still on their cards with the price tag intact. Papers, papers and more papers. I don't know what's worse, the fact that she held on to all of this stuff or the fact that I have moved it to not one, not two, but four different states five times! So, into the trash it all went.
As I was looking through my Mom's report cards from first grade and reading her accomplishments and finally flipping through her year books I realized my children have no clue who my mother was. They know she's in Heaven and they know I had a Mom at one time, but they don't know her. August 11th was the 20 year anniversary of her death. Most days it seems like only yesterday. Why haven't I spent more time telling my kids about their Grandma? I can't believe it's not something I thought about before today. I want my kids to know how great she was, how caring and honest and selfless she was. I want to know that when I'm gone and they are going through my things they recognize her in pictures. Last year we had a woman speak to us at MOPS about scrapbooking/preserving memories. I'm so sad that everyone on my Mom's side of the family is gone. I would love to sit down with someone and hear the story of her family.
I've had a lot of death in my life. My paternal Grandpa was the first, then my great-Grandma, my mom was next, my maternal Grandma, my first born son, my maternal Granpa, my uncle and most recently my ex-husband. In order to honor these people I'm going to try and do a weekly or bi-weekly post here about each of these people. It will be good for me to go back and dig up memories I most likely have forgotten. Even though I can't see any of these people today they will always be in my heart. It's important I never forget them and it's also very important that my children get to know them through my stories and memories.