It was a huge week for me in Auckland last week, plenty of poignant moments. I offered to do my bit to help the family clear out the family home after Dad moved into a retirement village with care last week. More on that later though.
I flew over and stayed at the family home for two nights on my own, with no phone, no mobile (and I didn't take my charger to NZ of course!), no TV and no internet. A little bit scary at first.
I didn't think I could do it but I did. It was so eerily quiet and mess everywhere where sorting had already begun. How many things can you hoard in your kitchen Dad? He had taken all that he needed with him, so I began the sorting process in the kitchen. I found the egg cups we used as kids, the retro green and brown flour sifter I always thought was pretty cool. Royal Albert retro china, Meakin plates and heavily tarnished silver spoons we had always used for special occasions throughout my childhood.
My job was to clear out all the cupboards, wardrobes and rooms and sort everything into piles in the garage. I found my self on a carousel of vivid family memories whichever way I turned. Mountains of photos, books and sewing patterns covered the sitting room floor as I ploughed my way through them, sorting them into family piles. Reminiscing.
I found even more solitude in the garden. So many memories...
I picked some of Dad's strawberries.
Took him in a bunch of his roses.
Then I found some of Mum's old linens in the linen press.
Some of her cherished china...
..and after a hugely emotional but cathartic week with my sister, brothers and Dad, I have brought home some special treasures to cherish.
Before I left, I looked in the garage and asked myself, 'is this what my life is going to come down to?' A heap of quality possessions hardly used in a big pile ready to be carted of to charity? I have learned a big lesson from all of this, just keep the things I really love, the things that matter to me and pass on the rest. Live more simply and just be happy.
That is what I am going to try and do.