It All Came Down To One Basket


So, I’m back in the saddle (I don’t know what it is about these western metaphors lately) but to be honest I’m slumped over. Like a wounded cowboy coming back on his plodding horse. I need water and some grub.

My brother and I got through the minefield of organizing the funeral and burial of our father. My father and stepmother had been pretty diligent about getting their affairs in order, so they didn’t leave a lot of labor to do – just a lot of paperwork.

My brother and my husband and I cleaned out my father’s room in the assisted living facility and donated some of it, threw out some of it and I have some things to be dispersed to a few family members.

It really all came down to one basket.

Hours after I had watched the dirt being shoveled over my father’s casket, my brother and I went to the attorney’s office. We sat at the conference table and my brother sat the grubby, worn out basket in front of him and began picking through it and verbally sharing what each piece of paper was.

With a pained look on his face, the attorney waved it away and said, “That’s ok, I’ll have someone go through that later.” Is there anything else? Other possessions?

I said, “no” but my eyes wouldn’t leave the basket. He so easily dismissed and waved away the only tangible remains of my father’s whole life. Ouch.

That’s it. All those years of work. The sacrifice, the dedication, the thought, the effort. The making of money, the spending of money. All the antiques, the Persian rugs, the Chinese vases, the silver, the interior design. All the buying and selling of homes and property. All the love, the giving and withholding. The family drama. The constant tension between stuff and people. My father’s whole life was reduced to one basket of papers.

All this decluttering, downsizing and minimizing of my life came into sharp focus. It’s true, we really don’t need this stuff we hoard and hold on to. Because at the end it really comes down to one basket of papers and what people remember about you – good or bad.

My dad was a math genius and we would have arguments over my math homework because I just didn’t get it.

But even I know that you can solve for X if you know the answer, what you’re heading for. So, if we know that the end = one basket of papers and the memories people have of you, shouldn’t you be working toward that end?

Shouldn’t we be making good memories and sharing love?

I think so.

Going to get some grub, find a tree to lean against and probably take a nap.






2 thoughts on “It All Came Down To One Basket

  1. Apart from many good memories I remember so vividly the hands of my grandmother. The manicure. What grimace she used to have when looking in the mirror. All these tiny “unimportant” things I remember so vividly. How my grandfather straitened his trousers when coming to greet someone in the hallway. And of course the advices he gave, and values that he lived by.

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