My mother died three years ago after a lifetime of declining health, eventual hospice care, and a horrible final week. After she died, we had a pretty quick turn around on her house with people moving in and out. We went through the house like a whirlwind and honestly tossed most of the stuff. In hindsight, would I have liked to have taken more time to go through the house and hang on to more things? Perhaps. Although I’m not really a sentimental person. I’m not a keeper, I’m a thrower. And in the past three years there hasn’t been anything that I have thought of that I wish I had kept so I think it really all worked out. Plus, when you are living in the moment of grief and loss, who has the time and energy to really know if you are doing the right thing?
So when all was said and done, I walked away from my mom’s house with her photo albums and only one other small box that I had filled with childhood keepsakes and a few things I HAD to have. One of the items…a large spool of string.
This string lived in the cabinet above our stove with other random artifacts that were used infrequently. I’m pretty sure that my father took it home from work one day in the 70s. The string is old and a bit dirty but it is OUR string. It is the string that I remember my mother going to get out for any project we were doing, for hanging decorations around the house, and for any other thing that you could possibly use string for. I remember vividly tossing everything from that cabinet when cleaning out the house and not being able to throw the string away. To anyone else it is a gross spool of discolored thread. For me, it is a symbol of so many memories. I’m now using the string at my house with my family. I can only hope that someday when I’m dead and gone Isabelle will hang on to the string for the same reasons. Oh, and yes I have no doubt we will still have the string then. I mean how often do you even use string? And this spool appears to be never ending.
Another item that I had to keep…a bag of toothpicks.
It would have been so easy to toss this bag during the clean out but I just couldn’t. This snowman bag lived in my mother’s hutch. Anytime we were baking she would send me or my brother in to go get out a toothpick to test to see if it was done. Like the string, these toothpicks seem to last forever. They are a reminder of days when my mother was in better health. Days where we cooked together and days where we laughed together. Today, Isabelle and I made muffins and I sent her to our hutch to get out the snowman bag (which doesn’t zipper anymore). We talked about Grammy and we sent a picture of the toothpicks to my brother. Days like today I’m so thankful that I didn’t throw the toothpicks away. They are priceless.