Monday, August 6, 2012

Memories Not For Sale


My friend’s father died 6 months ago. Sara* and her husband came back from Paris where they were living and working, to spend his last few months with him and have lived in his large rambling house ever since. It was a hard decision to sell the property and all its eclectic belongings and now she is in the midst of a huge estate sale with the house itself having sold in just a few days.

I went to visit Sara yesterday and her emotions were palpable. She stood alone, surrounded by strangers who were poking and shuffling through her father’s shoes and shirts, opening up his closets and sitting on his peach leather couch.
She listened to their comments about his large collection of ties, sweaters and swim shorts, their opinions about chairs he had sat in, books he had bought and mirrors in which he may have gazed at his reflection. Strangers touching, rifling through, discussing and bartering for objects that her father had chosen, owned, worn and read. Priceless pieces to her, bargains for them.

She wondered aloud if her father might be angry that she was selling all his stuff, belongings he had acquired over a lifetime, disappearing from sight in just 3 days. Tears welled in her eyes as she recounted one woman trying to bargain a navy polka dot tie down from a dollar to 50c, the brutal reality of a loved one gone and his possessions slipping away to people unknown. 

…and yet she knows, she cannot keep all the contents of this house and the memories she has of her Dad go much deeper than the clothing he wore. She recalls the daily  phone conversations, his sense of  humor, the love he had for her and his hugs. She knows deep down she will honor his memory by moving forward with her life plans. Sara's father will be with her in spirit wherever she goes and in the photographs, book about Poland and the blue and yellow tie she put safely away, to keep.

It’s very hard to let go of the material objects that remind you of the person you have loved and lost. But that person is more than their possessions. They live on in your photographs,  facial expressions, eye color and mannerisms, your ethics and values, your offspring and your memories. And these- -no one can buy, bargain with or take away. 


Gilly

*names and details have been changed.




Many thanks to you all for your support of  Brainstorm. Please help spread the blog readership by sharing this post or others to your face book page. It's very simple to do.  Click on the F icon at the very bottom of this post, write a comment if you like and post the link. 
Thank you! 

* Please email me at gilly@bringingbooksofcomfort.org or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 
     ***********************************************************************************
*Thank you for visiting Brainstorm. If you want to receive future posts by email please enter your address on the right hand side of this post,where it says "follow by email."  Remember to look for the verification link when it comes into your inbox or hides in your spam folder.




6 comments:

  1. I actually think too many possessions can get in the way of memories of the person. Somehow it can drag you down if you keep too much. Lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Rachel.
    Yes, perhaps.I think it depends how sentimental you are with your loved ones things.Then it is not about the keeping of them but about strangers having them instead. I think it was these strangers discussing the pieces that Mara's Dad had invested in, so dispassionately and sometimes critically that was very painful for her.
    Gilly

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jane Taubenfeld CohenAugust 7, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    I love this post. I think that we don't always know where we will find those memories and the spirit- it is not always as obvious as we think it might be- Sometimes, suddenly, the feeling that someone is with you warms you- even for just a second- and the trigger might or might not be an object.
    But, more deeply, I love the way you paid tribute to the place your friend is in right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jane. Yes I agree with you, that moment where you feel a presence is often unexpected and triggered by the unexpected. On a trip to Israel I saw a mango tree on my great aunt's porch bulging with ripe fruit and felt my Dad intensely. He loved mangoes but that "warmth" was a surprise.

      Delete
  4. Beautiful post. I remember going through my mom's stuff figuring out what we would keep and what we would sell and donate. I know we aren't supposed to be materialistic, but those objects are like smells or sounds, they trigger memories and emotions. Hard to part with certain things

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Corey, I think that's true.It's not necessarily the objects themselves that are precious,but the memories they evoke.That's why sometimes the least expensive in price are the most priceless....and those pieces are keepers for sure!
      Gilly

      Delete