Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cleaning and Remembering Dad

We've begun the process of clearing out my dad's house.  It is both physically and emotionally draining.  No one would believe how much can be collected while living in the same place for almost 45 years.  And, who knows how much he brought with him from a former apartment.  In addition to normal stuff, dad believed in keeping records.  He had copies of every letter he ever wrote, including the envelopes he mailed them in, every bill he ever paid, including copies of checks he wrote and papers galore documenting every person he ever spoke to, including the time of day.

Dad's coffee pot is pictured above.  He started every day with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, freshly brewed a night or two before and reheated.  He liked it to be ready in the morning.  Since he stopped working 30 years ago, I never caught on to why he had no time to make it when he got up, and he never caught on to why I refused to drink it.  The inside of the pot is quite black.  I bought him a new one several years ago.  It is sitting in the kitchen where he put it when I handed it to him.

Dad labeled everything. My husband got a charge out of this free Radio Shack battery he got in 1986.  I believe he would have tried to use it if he knew where it was.

The one thing this has taught me is that when I finish with his house, I better start on my own.  I don't want my children to have to spend months cleaning out my stuff, stuff they won't understand why I saved either.


Anonymous said...

Luckily for us, my mom always felt compelled to get rid of things. Whatever she did feel she needed was neatly "cacooned" in ziploc baggies and clearly labeled. But still, going through her things when she passed was not an easy thing to do. I'd go over and start but wind up bawling because she wasn't there anymore. Finally I decided to pay an extra month's rent so we'd have time to heal a bit before taking on the emotionally draining task.

Good luck to you and sorry for your loss.


Anonymous said...


ChiTown Girl said...

Oh, PO, this just brought back a flood of recent memories from when we did this at my in-laws. It's hard, isn't it?

Every one of my SILs said that they were going to start getting rid of things and simplifying their lives ASAP, so THEIR children wouldn't have to deal with the same thing.

By the way, I LOVE the wallpaper in your father's kitchen! It instantly took me back to my childhood. =)

Sending you love and prayers!!!

Anonymous said...

As sad as this is, I couldn't help laughing. Our parents have quirks, but your dad seemed to be a diarist. It should make for interesting reading.

My father would put electric tape over everything that needed repair and say is was "temporary". Decades later it was still there.

Hang in there. It will get done.

Mrs. Gumby said...

It is difficult to go through the remains of a parent's life. About a year ago my brother and I had to clean out our father's home after he passed away. My father was a neatnik who also meticulously filed things. There must have been at least 12 filing drawers we had to go through carefully! It was so hard deciding what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away.

Be kind to yourself and take your time. It's OK to laugh and to grieve.

And, yes, I plan to start cleaning my house,too, so that my children won't have to figure out what to do with stuff I've saved! (I hope they appreciate it!)