Have you ever had to take on the task of emptying the house of someone close to you after their death? This is what I’ve been doing since the death of my mom in January. I’ve been working on it in a rather off and on fashion. More off than on. The whole process is┬átiring both physically, mentally and emotionally.

Being the only girl and the youngest — I have four older brothers — I took it upon myself to sort through everything. There’s an 11 years age difference between me and my closest brother. I was an accident. A happy accident it ended up being. Finally bringing my parents a daughter. I’m the one who lived at home most recently and am familiar with a lot of what’s there. Do you still refer to the house you grew up in as home even though you have a home of your own?

Emptying a house, especially one lived in for over 40 years, is not an easy undertaking. My mom was a saver. Not a hoarder. She saved things that could be reused or repurposed, such as margarine tubs and pantyhose. She clipped from magazines and newspapers — recipes, helpful hints, medical info, advice columns. She was a record keeper — receipts for major purchases, statements, calendars, owners manuals.

Needless to say, there’s been a lot of shredding. Not much trash. A lot of recycling — the usual paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal, as well as electronics. Some items donated to charity. Others of importance or usefulness being kept by myself or my brothers. What’s left will be sold, including the house.

Last week I came to the conclusion I need to finish up this sorting business so I can move on and focus 100% on my house and myself. I spent most of the weekend over there and made considerable progress. One trip to Goodwill, with more ready for another trip. One trip to electronics recycling, with more ready for another trip. Three trips to recycling. I’m thinking one more day of really attacking it like that and I will be done with the inside of the house. The light at the end of the tunnel. Hallelujah!

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