Cleaning out a parents condominium after their death is difficult. Physically difficult because of the amount of work that is involved to inspect each room, drawer, closet, and kitchen cabinet. Mentally difficult finding things that bring back memories of our childhood or days recently gone by.
Strangely though, all of this work takes place with a sense of distant objectivity. Squeezed into our busy schedules, their is a calmness and business like approach during this necessary task.
What’s interesting is to find things in a parent’s home that you may have not seen yet based on where you found them must have been very sentimental to them. Things that you know they prized have little value for you now. Items that held great value during their lifetime no longer carry the same value today.
Different than visiting a museum, you get to see an intimate snapshot of a person’s life that was your parent. Yet the rooms were cold, the objects distant while the exercise necessary. There was no life present amidst all of the things that once held great meaning in our hearts.
What screamed from the emptiness of each room is just how much we make up the lives we create when being present. That we bring the warmth into a home — not it’s furnishings or decor. That what has value can only be seen by the heart when another person is present.
Chasing skills, fame, fortune, and applause all have their time and place.
What is important are the enduring memories and feelings we create, in each other, when we are together as a family remembering that they only appear when we participate fully through our presence.
That is what the empty rooms full of things told me today.