What happened to the time…?
Before I begin my next post, I wish to apologize for delaying so long in posting anything for the last five…no…six months….Ugh… Has it been that long? Where has the time gone?!
Time. That elusive entity that consistently slips away in undetermined certainty. That undeniable concept that the more time one has, the less time one really has.
Admittedly, time has literally gotten away from me. The endless array of…let’s see….chores, school-work, kids’ doctors’ AND hospital visits, the flu, and the weather, has been consistent and relentless… You know; LIFE…. in all it’s undeniable reality; twenty-four, seven.
Even now, as I type, my husband and I are “camped-out” in our small kitchen — near the coffee-pot, of course 😉 — while our long-awaited home-improvement grant funds a carpet installation. It’s an exciting event, no doubt; but unsettling, as well. So, I am using this rare opportunity to get out a blog post amidst the banging and pounding and scraping… Oh, and of course — while the kids play at their grandparents’ house. 🙂
Learning to Let Go….
While undergoing this “construction-zone” event in our home, we required a much-needed “purging”, or “pre-spring” cleaning. You know, the kind that involves going through endless amounts of “stuff” in boxes that have collected over the years. Even the stuff I thought I had carefully labeled and packed away, I hadn’t seen in YEARS. We faithfully moved box after box from one location to another, without even unpacking them. The contents of these boxes were those almost forgotten items that have no practical purpose, except to evoke a memory. These were usually the keepsakes that were the hardest to find a spot for, and impossible to let go of…
When my mom passed away, my siblings and I had the time-consuming and painstaking job of going through her things. Even now, I still find myself, almost three years later, still going through items of Mom’s. Ironically, Mom had to do this herself, when my Grandma, and then my Aunt Helen (her sister), passed away years ago. My father also had the same experience trying to go through my other Grandmother’s things when she passed away…. It is always painful: almost as if getting rid of their effects is like erasing their memory.
The Essence of Freedom….
However, over time, I realized that donating, recycling, and even “pitching” certain items do not diminish a fond memory, but on the contrary, can actually reinforce it. In addition, “minimizing” elicits a certain amount of freedom — not only for oneself, but also for the deceased person.
For example, I spent the greater part of a recent Saturday afternoon going through a good-sized box of my mom’s old papers. Needless to say, that among the scattered photos and keepsakes, the greater part of that box was nothing but old bills and statements…. not items of sentimental value.
My mother was plagued with financial difficulties her entire life, and it was with great pleasure that I could finally dispose of those out-dated and unpleasant remnants of hard times. It gave me a new purpose — almost a driving motivation — to find a way to dispose of my own family’s unnecessary “stuff” that do little more than create clutter and collect dust.
How to Preserve…?
So, in the long and painstaking process of de-cluttering, how do we preserve the relics of our loved ones? For me, it was my mom’s mother’s ring, and my grandmother’s wedding ring. These are small, unobtrusive items that have significant meaning, but don’t take up too much space. I have also held onto items that have a practical purpose: a coffee mug, a throw, or a kitchen utensil.
We can easily donate other items, such as: clothing that doesn’t fit, miscellaneous furniture, and household items. Thrift stores or re-use centers for needy families always welcome donations; or they can be sold at a flea market or yard sale. We can also take photos of memorable items and make a scrap-book, which preserves visual memories for us and our children to enjoy.
Scrap-booking, although time-consuming, is one of my passions, and one of the ways I try to preserve memories. I like to include my boys in these projects, too, count it as “Art”, and get them to tap into their creative side. My Dad still has an old scrap-book of his grandmother’s, made from an old Sears catalog. Talk about preserving memories AND recycling at the same time!
This Thing Called “Time”…
Meanwhile, Life — proverbially — goes on. And on….
Meaning, no doubt, to not only preserve our memories, but to create memories as well. I see my children growing like weeds, and the days and weeks being consumed into months and years. I come across old photos of my former students, and remember that they now have families of their own. Then I glance in the mirror, and the face that glances back has lines; and the gray hairs peeping out from the brown are too numerous to count. (~sigh~)
If if makes me realize anything, it makes me realize that time is not only short, but also fleeting. Too short for dwelling upon the past, things we cannot change, or unpleasantness and negativity. This is the time given to us by Divine Providence as a Blessing; a Gift; an Opportunity. Take that vacation; send that card; make that phone call; and make time for those you love. Live your lives to the absolute fullest, filling every blessed day with memories, and holding nothing back!
Because, one day, the time will pass. And — how does that saying go?– Whoever coined it was brilliant:
Treat today as a Gift. That’s why they call it the Present.