My Thoughts on Loss and What is Left Behind

Covid times bring such a strange way to deal with everything, especially death. After my aunt’s passing, we had a five person outside funeral. The wonderful Cantor led the funeral. I was grateful with how meaningful it was. The people present were the ones who loved and cared about her the most. As I have stated before, there was no after-gathering of course. It was difficult to not exchange hugs as we departed. Covid has taken so much from everyone.

Then came the many things that needed to be taken care of. My aunt had COVID restrictions in place which meant things were quite different than usual. The entire room was in lock-down for two weeks. No one could enter the room. After the two weeks, a staff member in full PPE did a Zoom call with my cousin and me. We went through item by item to see what should be donated, what we wanted to keep, and what should be shredded. The staff member was so kind as we looked in drawers, closets, and tables to make our decisions. I was grateful my cousin and I completed the challenging task together.

All the items we wanted to keep were placed in two large boxes. Along with the boxes were two pieces of art we wanted. The staff at this residence were wonderful to my aunt, as well as all their clients.  We knew they were doing their best to make sure all our concerns were handled properly. The kind young lady said it was her goal to make it as easy on us as she could.

After another week in isolation, my spouse drove the hour + and picked up the items. Being the cautious one, I opened the boxes outside to let them air out. After a couple of days, I removed each of the items and laid them out on the outdoor dining table. The majority of one of the boxes was her costume jewelry. I asked my cousin if I could use the costume jewelry to make a decorated bowing ball, as I had done for my mother. She informed me that I could probably decorate multiple bowling balls with the assortment of jewelry she had. She wasn’t kidding either.

First, I separated the broken pieces. Those would be first to use towards the bottom of the ball. There were some pieces I remembered seeing time and time again. I knew these were her favorites. Some pieces, I had never seen her wear. It made me smile as I remembered my aunt, always adorned with clip on earrings, a necklace, and rings to match her outfits. No matter what the circumstances, she was one classy broad. (I mean that in the most loving way.) My memories warmed my heart as I touched the pieces that brought her so much happiness.

The second box was filled with a few tchotchkes as well as pictures and legal documents. I was delighted that they had found the scrapbook I had made for my aunt for her 90th birthday. It was in the box with the documents. As I held the scrapbook, I remembered the delight my aunt had looking at my gift. I wanted to do something special for her, and now it was returned to me after her passing. It was a bittersweet experience.

In the folder of pictures were a few that brought tears to my eyes. One that was especially important to my cousin, was of my uncle (her dad) in chiropractic college. She was not sure she had ever seen the photo before. Included was also a small picture of a gentleman labeled grandpa. It was in my aunt’s handwriting. It had his name listed and his wife’s name. I had previously hit a block wall on ancestry past my paternal grandparents. Now, I have another huge hint to continue my research. Another photo had my grandfather as a child, his mother, father, grandmother, siblings, and half siblings, with their names. Grateful isn’t a strong enough word for how I felt.

I put the jewelry items back in the large box to be attended to later. I plan on making a shadow box with some of her pieces. I shall also decorate a bowling ball in her honor. Each item I touch brings up memories of happier days with my aunt and uncle. I have lost them both. There are no longer any members of their generation on my paternal side. That gives me much to think about.   

As I move through the process of cleaning out my own belongings, I know the greatest thing I can leave to my family are good memories.

12 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Loss and What is Left Behind

  1. Lauren, what treasured memories. I know that our generation still appreciates and understands the sentimentality and loving thoughts and experiences associated with these items that meant so much. I fear our things will not be treated in the same way by our children. So sad. Enjoy remembering your beloved Aunt thru your interesting projects. I hope you will post pictures of your artwork.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a earlier comment that went off somewhere else. How good to be able to gather up cherished memories in some of her belongings, especially the photo collection tZhat you did for her 90th birthday, I thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Again, so sorry for the loss of your dear Aunt. It is hard to go through their treasured items, but still it brings back so many good memories. I have a garage full of things left from both my parents, and both sets of grandparents. I don’t know what to do with it all, and seems so awful to throw any of it away. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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