linda and jim were doing the swedish death cleanse. linda was determined to de-clutter their home of anything that could potentially burden their children one day. once on a mission there is no stopping her, so they were diligent about going through every corner, nook and cranny of their home, eliminating anything that was not needed, anything that hadn’t been used in ages or was just simply extraneous.
now, we all talked about that around the table. with the sun setting on lake michigan and wine in our glasses, our little neighborhood group discussed how hard it is to let go of things, especially things that have some meaning or are mementos of some sort. add to that the fact that many of us were raised by parents who had experienced the great depression and you have people who are pre-destined to keep stuff, repurpose it, re-use it, save it for sometime you might need it, save it for when it comes back into fashion so you don’t have to buy it again, etc etc etc. (that’s definitely my experience and my excuse.)
many times i have entered the basement storage room and gazed at the bins. in years past, we have eliminated most of the boxes and traded them for these bins, throwing out some things, giving away some things, donating items that are useful, so we have made some progress. now there are bins with christmas ornaments, bins with artwork and stories and projects created by The Girl or The Boy, bins of things my sweet momma felt too guilty to give away, bins of sewing paraphernalia, bins of art supplies, bins of old music (for everyone gives the musician they know all the old sheet music they come across in their own basement and then that musician, who feels like it’s a mortal sin to throw music out, is compelled to keep it all in file cabinets or, yes, bins.)
from time to time i get a wild hair and go through a bin or random remaining box or pile in the basement workroom. sometimes i am pretty successful at eliminating clutter. trust me – i have been in peoples’ homes who have been hoarders and just seeing that makes me want to get rid of everything and live in a tiny house (well, one that would fit my piano.)
this winter perhaps we will tackle this once again. one more layer of cleaning out. it is possible. it’s just tough for me to be ruthless. i am too thready to be ruthless. touching memories or seeing them around me is reassuring and fills my heart.
one day in more recent days i went upstairs to look for something in the closet in the hallway. on the top shelf sat these slippers. stored here, they are my sweet momma’s and my poppo’s. they kept them here for when they would visit.
i know that they won’t visit our home again. noticing the slippers stopped me in my pursuit of whatever-it-was-i-was-looking-for. all the moments of having my parents present in my home swirled around me, the finality once again a reality. i struggled with what to do. i took them out of the closet and brought them downstairs to show d.
laying them carefully on the floor, i took this picture so that i could look at it and remember. and then, i placed them in a bag so that someone else – a woman with smaller feet than mine and a man with bigger feet than d’s – could have slippers. slippers with a bank of memories. slippers worn hugging my children as they grew. slippers worn around the christmas tree. slippers worn in the cold winter sitting by the fire or in the summer drinking morning coffee on the deck. slippers that lived here, just waiting for their owners, my beloved parents, to put them on. slippers with big heart. slippers with profoundly good juju.