It’s the task adult children dread: Sorting through the detritus of a parent’s life, however well-lived, while also sorting through grief.
My mother loved her independent apartment in a Southwest Florida retirement community. She had a blast furnishing it 10 years ago, and she got to stay there until she died a couple of days after Christmas (see obit). She’d moved there on her own initiative and resisted being hustled into assisted living. Mom had already pared down quite a bit before moving into her apartment, but when you’re 90, you’ve still got plenty of stuff.
In one drawer was an abundance of earrings, many of which I could not remember her wearing. They were all organized — worn and put carefully back in place. Except for one pair of gold sand dollar post earrings. One had been bent, possibly stepped on. They were both little gold(ish) sand dollars, but they didn’t match. Their hues and patterns were different enough for me to notice, but similar enough for Mom’s eyesight. How similar are any two sand dollars on the beach, anyway?
I poked around for the other sand dollar earrings, but did not find them. That’s how it is. We accumulate experiences, emotions, relationships, scars and stuff. Not all of it matches and some of it’s a little bent out of shape, but it’s ours. We hope that what we don’t take with us will benefit someone somehow, even just to leave a smile.
The sand dollar earrings went into the “keep” box. Life doesn’t match up. Wear it and rock it anyway.
Photo credit: tashland via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND