Sunday, January 19, 2014

Prioritize the best, let go of the rest.

Shannon and I and Rilla (who "helped" by keeping us all cheered while we worked)  were away for a few days to help in the momentous, life altering  move of my parents into a senior living establishment. It is a beautiful place into which they are moving. But to call it a downsizing would be to put it gently. They possess treasures collected while living on three continents, travelling to many countries, and also (abundantly ) supplying their last home. It wouldn't take a sleuth to analyze the life and times of my amazing parents. The evidence of Mom's hobbies, Dad's interests and both their globetrotting cling to and hide in every nook and cranny, lie on every shelf and table, fill every closet and drawer, and decorate every wall. Mom's stash of yarn (huge), gardening magazines (stacks), clipped recipes (piles), fancy dish-wear (collected and inherited), photos of family, especially grandchildren, (some framed, some computer printed), house plants and extensive garden and gardening supplies all paint a picture of life with endless possibilities and abundant energy.

Now because of  illness and age the energy is no longer there and the supplies, once treasured, become a burden which saps all too much of what's left. What to take and what to leave behind? What to store, what to give away, sell or toss? What are the things they still want to (or can) have about them? Everything moved or used to decorate or keep must have a history, meaning, or usefulness. Helping to sort through some of that and evaluate things is a big, somewhat overwhelming task. Everyone wants them to be surrounded with things that make them smile when they wake in the morning or return to their apartment after an outing or meal. Things should be practical as well as beautiful.

Shannon's and my role this trip was to help with decorating the wonderful, new apartment space they are moving into, mostly with what they have already used and collected in the past. (And evidently we brought Rilla along to entertain and cheer the troops. Us and them. Have you any idea what happens when a baby comes into a retirement center? It is absolutely priceless and heart-warming. And a little sad.) Anyway it turned out beautiful with Mom's Swedish Christmas plate collection hung around their windows, some family produced artwork and framed photos, Dad's WWII memory shadow boxes, an edited cabinet of souvenirs, new lampshades on lamps ( Aruba shell filled ). They kept their coffee table from Morocco ( Rilla initiated it by climbing on it and doing a little dance. But it's been through a lot. I was only a little older than Rilla when my folks got it in Morocco and has been their coffee table ever since). We helped with the new padded head board that John had envisioned. The color theme had to be Mom's Swedish blue. It all came together nicely.

Prioritize the best, let go of the rest. 


Sweet Bouquets said...

Darling pics of fun she could bring the sparkle into the sorting and deciding! We better hurry up and do our birthdays! :)

Mon Cheri said...

Yes Sweet Bouquets, and Christmas too. Lunch at Eats and Treats soon?

grandma and grandpa said...

Cheri, What beautiful picture and comments! I'll copy the pictures and print them out.

Thanks! We often remember and talk about your time here and this is a great reminer.

Love you, Dad (for Mom too)

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