My mom and I went through everything and decided on keep, save or store. She'd already culled quite a bit, which made it all easier. We purged all of Leo's things years ago, after he died. Then more when my mom married her David and she made space for him to move in.
The hardest part was the jewelry. For both of us.
For every pair of earrings, for every ring and necklace, there was a story and a memory. Who gave it whom on what occasion. Some pieces were from the 60s, gifts from my dad. Some had belonged to my grandmother. We ruthlessly categorized - some I took, some she's keeping, some goes to be appraised and sold, some for my aunt to look through.
The jewelry is when we cried.
But at least we got to do this together.
My mom and I have had a long-standing joke, whenever she brought home a great new piece of art and I said I liked it, she'd answer "good, because it will be yours someday." Sometimes it gave me a thrill, thinking of the day I'd get to have that painting or sculpture. Until I remembered that would mean my mom would be gone.
I walked myself through it from time to time. How she'd have passed away and weeks later I'd go through the house and decide what to keep or sell.
I never could get myself through it.
Now I don't have to. I brought home some of my favorite things now, the ones that won't work in the Tucson house. Others I'll take after the house sells. It feels good to have everything accounted for.
I'm giving my old dollhouse to Lauren, for our granddaughter to be born in October. The carpet above were pieces I'd cut for the dollhouse and carefully stored. Yes, they were remnants from our own house. The yellow was in my bedroom, the tile in the kitchen and the green throughout the rest. My mom wants you all to know that she had that carpet out of there by the 80s. We were just stunned at how bright it is. Didn't seem like it at the time.
I'm also lucky that way. I have friends whose parents never did redecorate since the 70s. One mother had a house with a different color for every room: purple living room, red rec room, green kitchen, yellow bedroom - and didn't want to change a thing to sell it. It turned out to be a pleasant weekend. We got a great deal accomplished and spent some time together on the patio, where we spent so many family occasions.
The twinsie shirts, by the way, were a coincidence, but I think we shouldn't let them live it down.