Skip to main content

Measure of a Life

Aside from celebrating two birthdays, we spent our Labor Day weekend laboring in the garage. In January 2002, my mother-in-law died very unexpectedly from sepsis following an attack of pneumonia. In the year following her death, all of her things were boxed and put into storage. After a year or two of this, we discontinued the storage and moved everything into our garage. Two or three times a year we set aside a day to work our way through her things.

In the beginning it was just too painful, but very slowly we progressed, making decisions about clothes, shoes, purses, knick-knacks, framed photos, crafts, etc. After several failed attempts to do it by himself, my husband has put me “in-charge” of going through the boxes. That allows me to select items I think he or his brother will want to see or put-away, while sorting out items that need to go to Goodwill or disappear. If I didn’t do this, we might still be discussing the merits of keeping an assortment of guest bathroom soaps that were already old when they were packed seven years ago.

How do you appraise a person’s life? How do you let go of the physical things, choosing only certain tokens and special items to remember a person by? Especially when nearly every item has a memory attached to it?

Even harder is that each time you open a box, her unique scent wafts up and hits you full in the face to fill your mind with memories? One minute you’re pulling out a box from the pile, and the next second you’re looking at her “mother of the groom” dress, matching dyed shoes, and the small mementos she collected from our wedding. The rush of grief from missing her squeezes so hard that you are unable to breathe in the pain of it.

This weekend we found her jewelry boxes, her wedding album, both of her son’s baby books, the last set of birthday cards, and a lot of her mail, bills, etc. Going through her jewelry was more personal to me than going through her nightgowns. Like any woman, she had multiple jewelry boxes from different stages of her life. I know the resources guiding us through this process suggest selecting a few specific items and bestowing them on our daughters so they will have something of their grandmother’s, but I just couldn’t bring myself sort and remove any of the jewelry. My husband will need to take it to his brother and aunt so the three of them can discern what has sentimental, or real, value and needs to be kept.

After this weekend, we’re down to three boxes and ten filing cabinet drawers. I have mixed feelings about finishing the task. On the one hand, it will be wonderful to be able to walk through the garage, but will I miss these long, emotional, days going through her life?

Will the material we've chosen to save, the papers and photographs, sufficiently document her true spirit, her unique essence? I believe that the measure of her life, her legacy, may be found in the lives of her sons and how they raise their own families.

Receive New Blog Posts by Email

* indicates required

Connect on Social

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Popular posts from this blog

Don’t Leave Facebook for Lent – Take it Over!

  So many Christians leave Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels for their Lenten devotion or fast.  With the purpose of Lent being to rededicate our lives to God and grow in holiness, I understand why so many fast from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more for Lent.  Our social media feeds these days are full of darkness, sadness, and temptation.  They are far from the original purpose of the platforms to bring community together. Pope Benedict said in his message for World Communications Day 2013, “Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important.”  He continued. “Social networks… also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships.”  This is part of the reason why I dedicate my time to sharing the Good News online.  I believe in my call as a Christian to go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS – eve

Prayer to End the School Year

Another school year is coming to an end.  And what a year the 2017-2018 school year was..... The events of the last 9 months have made me not only thankful to see it end but needing to get on my knees to Thank God for many things.  This school year began with Hurricane Harvey hitting our area and ended with the devastating school shooting at nearby Santa Fe High School. In the middle of the crisis around us there were so many beautiful things, events and people that touched and changed our community and family for the better.  Let's just start with the teachers and administrators who have interacted with my kids this year...  A special social studies teacher that made a fast friend out of my geography obsessed daughter, an ELA teacher who slowly won my oldest daughter over with her love of the written word, a soccer trainer who pushed my son harder than he thought he could handle, and then helped him recognize how that hard work paid off.  What about a school nurse who repeated

12 Quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta

St. Teresa of Calcutta made a deep impression on me as a young girl as I watched her on tv and in news. Who doesn't remember the iconic picture of Mother Teresa with Princess Diana splashed across all magazines, newspapers and news shows?  To me, Saints were people who lived a long time ago, but here she was, a saint in the making.  Mother Teresa was a role model of how to become a Saint in our modern world, by giving her life to God through her dedication to the poor. On her feast day, I want to share with you a few of my favorite quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta.   Her words are seemingly simple and straightforward but packed with meaning.  My selection comes out of a new favorite book I picked up called, Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom by Carol Kelly-Gangi.  This little book contains hundreds of quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta centered around specific themes as well as a summary of her biography and quotes about her from others.  "God does not demand that