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  • Kathryn R. Biel

And Life Goes On

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind.  My grandmother went from having an"upset" stomach to passing away.  On Saturday, she was dusting her apartment. By the following Saturday, she was being buried. Despite the fact that she had 93 years on this earth, it went all too quickly.  I just can't believe that it's all over.  Now, we have the unenviable task of cleaning out her apartment.

We moved my grandmother into her apartment 6 years ago.  I am thankful that we had sort of weaned things out then.  My grandmother was impeccably neat.  However, she hid a great secret. She was a secret hoarder.  The woman saved EVERYTHING.  While that is charming when it comes to birthday cards, drawings, school show programs and obituaries, it loses something when we are talking about the tags from clothing.  And the free address labels sent to her by any charity that thought she would give them money (and this includes the address labels from her old address).  And elastic from the 1960's that had lost its stretch.  And plastic rain bonnets.  Seriously, the plastic rain bonnet companies are going to go out of business now that she is not supporting them.  I think we found at least 25 stashed here and there.  There were a lot of things stashed here and there.

But we found a letter that my uncle had sent from Vietnam in January 1967.  We found the cards and letters she received when her parents died in 1942 and 1944.  She lost both of her parents in the span of 18 months.  She was alone in the world by the age of 25. 

There is a lot of junk to get rid of.  There are things that others can use.  This year, with so many who lost so much, we hope that donating her things can help others.  It is the very essence of who she was.  I'm having a hard time parting with her things though.  Because the "things" have memories tied to them.  Like the Hush Puppies pumps.  I remember yearly trips to the outlets (both Lake George and Manchester) to get them.  She had at least 6 pairs, never worn.  We promptly brought those to my church's clothing drive. 

A small glass dish with a lid holds significance for always having peppermint patties.  That's now with my cousin. The 1970's Tupperware cups that we and now my kids always drank out of.  They will continue to use those cups.

I could go on and on about my grandmother. 

But I need to stay in the present.  And keep moving forward, rather than looking back.  We are trying to keep things as normal as possible.  Especially for Jake and Sophia.  And they are keeping things normal for us. They had a good Halloween, and are looking forward to Thanksgiving.  Which will be hard for all of us this year. I plan on using a lot of my grandmother's dishes, especially the ones from her mother.  She was always so pleased when she got to see her stuff being used. 

We're gonna keep on, keeping on.  But with a hole in our hearts.

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