174 A Week of Clarity

I’m pulling the dead plants from the yard, trimming the ivy. The hoses are put away, another load ventured to the dump. We are in motion. All of us are being swept along with the tide.

Maybe it’s the chicken that Kwami makes and I pop into my chicken soup.  Maybe it’s all of the applesauce of the past few days.  This last week (much to the opposite of the beginning fog of the last chemo cycle) has been a space of rapid fire ideas, motion, and clarity.  It is echoed by many of the writings that pop into my inbox.  There is transformation in the air, in the ethers.

I have bigger images of what the world can do, yet, there are tweaks and goals for me on the smallest of scales.  Sort the drawers.  Take a class (or three, I think I have three).  Remember food, and journaling, and the blog, and the people around me, and…

It’s movement.  It is like the chemotherapy, the partner to my body, moving through it and making changes.  I can tune in and feel it.  It’s like swirling, tiny bubbles, moving around in specific spaces.  Nausea is how it might be defined by someone who is unable to separate from the experience, but it isn’t that.  It is very intentional, very interactive.

Maybe people can resonate with the nausea on the political front.  The tension, upset, and uncertainty.  Moving us… forward?  Hopefully forward.

I’m pulling the dead plants from the yard, trimming the ivy.  The hoses are put away, another load ventured to the dump.  We are in motion.  All of us are being swept along with the tide.

170 What Were They Thinking?

Mom wrote an apology letter, probably some time before she died. She knew that she was leaving the project for others. And she also told me directly that once she was facing the extent of her pancreatic cancer, the psychological hoarding increased. Mom and Dad hoarded. Functionally hoarded.

Kwami and Nyasha were under the house yesterday, accomplishing stuff.  Under.  Through a trap door.  Below the floor.  Kwami handed up gallon after gallon of water… and garbage, a stack of old vents and rings and furnacey stuff.

It brought back that inner sigh.  I feel more “push” to get the space cleaned up and cleared out.  And there are always surprises.  When I think I know what is left, another nook or cranny unearths more miscellaneous items to think about, to sort, to discard.  My mind jumps to the phrase, “What were they thinking?”  

When I moved into Dad’s house, the full intention was to prepare it for the possibility of sale, if it had to happen.  

Jan did so much sorting and discarding back when she moved in.  It was miraculous for me!  But it was a terrible mountain for her.  She never complained.  I am complaining for her. 

Mom wrote an apology letter, probably some time before she died.  She knew that she was leaving the project for others.  And she also told me directly that once she was facing the extent of her pancreatic cancer, the psychological hoarding increased.  Mom and Dad hoarded.  Functionally hoarded.  They had space to store stuff and still live without it affecting their existence. Two bedrooms were packed to the gills (where did that idiom come from?).  The garage, two storage sheds, the attic… apparently a little trash and water in the crawl space.

What were they thinking?  

It is something about the brain.  It is said that children of the war time acquired this.  During the war, it was hard to get what one needed, and so the thought of having things stored, on hand, was built into the strategy for survival.  But the brain continued that thinking on past the sensible timeline.  

And in my parents case, they were not organized enough to access what was stored.  So, as I sort, there are probably more than 20 saws in the garage, found in as many locations.  Before I pared down, the shed stored six or seven of each type of yard tool (because Mom and Dad kept the ones the grandparents left behind).  Oddly, not as many redundant wrenches turned up.  I think Dad’s hand tools have more reasonable numbers because he DID know where they were, and he did have his own form or organization for that which was important to him.

I am going to do a load for the dump.  We have literally taken full loads, numbering to the teens now.  At one point I hired a hauling company, who transported a dump truck load of the enormous stuff.  Many trips to the toxics site, several to take donations, one full load gifted to an antique store, numerous to the recycle center.  

Mark would tease our parents, “When you die, we will just hire a truck and haul it away.”  Who knew that it could be truck after truck after truck?   I am pretty sure that everything I own will fit into one truck.  One trip. I hope

157. The Last Sort

It begs that I leave things better than the ones before me, that I start a new wave of personal follow through, that I acknowledge that my descendants and the ones who love me should not have to clean up my mess.

I cracked the prayer book.  The page title read “Seed of Prosperity”.  My eyes went directly to the line “Look at your possessions. As you observe each one, ask yourself, ‘Do I feel thankful for this?'”

Carol Bridges next bullet point: “Immediately get rid of everything for which you are not thankful.”  Marie Kondo was five years old when Carol’s book hit the shelves.  There is a striking similarity in their premises.

I have been through my drawers and closet two or three times this year.  I could do it again, but there isn’t much left to sort.  Everything fits.  I’m slowly working my way through accumulated shampoos, soaps and lotions.  I have a large collection of art, and gifts I’ve received, but if I still own it, it has meaning.

This page in the Inner Guidebook pops up again and again.  I want to blame it on overuse, a crease in the spine of the book, some sort of physical deformation of the pages.  That just is not true.

What waits?  Photos.  Files.  Boxes of family memorabilia. The hard stuff.  The tedious and tiny.

What keeps me from the task?  From finishing my personal sorting, not to mention sorting out the last of my Mom and Dad’s stuff (the memorabilia, the even older photos)?

When it comes to facing that my days on the planet are numbered, whether it be in the neighborhood of a hundred, or 10,000, it is difficult to prioritize the tedious.  I actually struggle with any prioritization whatsoever.  

If I am going to die this week, do I care what I eat?  No.  Do I want to deal with the monotonous?  No.  But what if there are a few years left?  Then the answers shift to “Maybe yes,” and “Sigh, probably.”

The easiest thing to do is nothing.  I do not feel guilty.  I do not feel motivated.  But there is a pushy little angel behind my spine that cares.  It cares about my kids and my family.  

It begs that I leave things better than the ones before me, that I start a new wave of personal follow through, that I acknowledge that my descendants and the ones who love me should not have to clean up my mess.

That’s big.  It goes far beyond the personal possessions, and into the mind and repeating patterns of society. Time to get to work!