Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We Are Back From Memory Hell

After what was supposed to be fun a Thursday - Sunday trip to visit my stepdad in Sugar Land (south of Houston) and see the beach, I'm exhausted.  We ended up leaving yesterday because I still spent all day Saturday going through more of my Mom's things.  Right after she died my sister and I went through 20-30 rubber-maids full of everything from melted craft supplies and pictures to china and linens.  We thought we'd found all her hoards of paperwork but the day we got to the house Bob asked if I wouldn't mind going through the remaining things.  What remaining things? Oh, for starters, an old file cabinet and 5 boxes of paperwork; including, but not limited to, every social security check, VA bill, benefits card, or bill my mom, grandmother who died in 2004, or father ever received.  Ever. But then the fun continued.  For 3 days.

I wish I was exaggerating.  The upstairs pile included 1 rubber-maid full of "to shred" documents and 8 bags of trash.  Downstairs had 3 extremely large boxes full of pictures, most crap but some worth saving (all our senior photos, totally forgot about those) that we started to add to a "donate" pile but it just got too intense to deal with. Then Saturday Coach opened the shed outside and found another 10 rubber-maids full of stuff.  All of my fathers military paperwork, leave and earnings statements, medical files, gear, and ancient tools.  Another 2 rubber-maids full of documents to shred, 5 bags of trash, and 5 rubber-maids that went directly into the trash pile.  Then 3 more trash bags outside and 4 wardrobe boxes outside full of nasty garage junk that also went straight into the trash pile.  

We did take home 4 rubber-maids of paperwork, her stand mixer, 2 boxes of assorted kitchen items (ice cream maker!  expensive pots and pans set! her marble rolling pin, oh the memories...), ammo cases full of extra accessories for all our weapons (color Coach happy to have 4 extra magazines for his favorite gun of my fathers, 1 for my favorite, extra grips for 2 of our weapons as well, as well as all the purchase receipts for all the weapons including our M1), and assorted pictures and memento's.

By Saturday I was exhausted both emotionally and physically. Every closet held more crap.  Every room had something. But Sunday we woke up and I had to get it done.  I swear we took or went through everything  after she died but there was so much.  But I got it done.  I had to, I couldn't know that there was still more junk lingering around in that house.  My stepdad wants to move so I know I had to , that house is just full of  her stuff.  Our car was packed.  We will go back during Coach's football bye-week to haul my moms teak dining table, chairs, and massive hutch home.  I have so many memories associated with that set and it's so beautiful (even if my moms dying cat ruined the upholstery on the chairs, they needed to be redone anyway so we'll do that once we get them up here).  But it's massively heavy so we'll have to figure out how to trailer it down here but also just how to get it loaded without killing someone, we may have to hire movers for an hour or something--it's that heavy.  

So of course I came home, labeled the tubs of things we took and sorted it into 4 piles--Caitlin's, send to my Grandma (mom's mom), send to my Aunt Glenda (Dad's sister), and mine.  We found a whole slew of documents from both sets of grand parents that we don't want, need, or whatever and so that's going back to either side.  It was intense.  And just to note: I do not ever want to read an autopsy, ever.  But I found nothing short of 2 dozen copies of my dad's autopsy report and LODD report in various places, in various states of disarray, that I inadvertently read the entire thing at least 4 times.  Too many death certificates, too many sad things.  Too much.  I just want to sleep for a few days and process everything we found.  But I can't.  So I'm sure it'll be a few weeks before I can even touch my tub of junk again to finish putting things away.  

The whole thing just boggled my mind.  Where did she squirrel all this stuff away at each house? How could she have not gone through these boxes?  She was so anal retentive and crawled up everyone's butt if anything was left out or didn't have its place, but all this crap she had hidden--seriously mom?  What did you think you were going to do with all this shit?  

On the plus side I found some neat-o photos and things of my dad's.  Awesome professionally done shots of his jumps; some black and whites from media taken at the refugee camp he set up in Turkey; some cool photos of him as a kid, and boy does my Lloyd look like his Grandpa Lloyd.  I'll scan some soon once I have the courage to go through those boxes again.  I, of course, came home and did another purge of our stuff and tried to get Coach to toss some of his junk (he's such an amateur hoarder himself)--but culling through the junk is never done.  I will never leave my children with the mess she left us.  I vow to not make them do what we've had to do.  It's just awful.  

But I'll leave you with my senior photo, yes I had blond highlights.  I was 16 or 17 when this was taken and I hadn't quit dying my grey hair yet, I still had enough brown hair that it accepted dye (oh the days of pigment...).
Mom, you've got some 'essplainin' to do.
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