Saturday, October 23, 2021

Cleared Out

My mom’s apartment is cleared out now.

Kim and I headed out to Philadelphia on Wednesday evening and met my brother there on Thursday. We got back a couple of hours ago – 72 hours away, almost to the jot, with more than a third of that as driving time. We’ve put almost ten thousand miles on the minivan in the last two months, most (though not all) of it spent going back and forth to Philadelphia. We needed to do this one more trip because the complex wanted the apartment empty by the end of the month and my brother and I had some administrative things to take care of while we were there that needed to be done in person – probate, banking, things like that. My mom’s neighbor from our old house is an attorney and he’s helping us through the bureaucracy, and we really appreciate that.

I have to say that the probate people and the banking people were uniformly helpful and kind, which was a lovely thing.

The three of us spent Thursday night and much of Friday packing things, and on Friday morning a couple of polite young men came over from one of those “Two Guys and a Truck” moving companies to take away the big stuff. It took longer than they thought it would but it always does, and they were still done by late afternoon. The company donates things to Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill, so we’re hoping that most of it ends up there. The extended family has already taken what we wanted and it all has to go somewhere, preferably to someone who will want it and use it. One of the neighbors took a pile of stemware, knickknacks, and assorted small items for the ongoing rummage sale that they do to raise money for residents who have outlived their savings, so that was nice.

I never did get to see the place empty, though this doesn’t bother me really. It always felt temporary compared to the house I grew up in, where my mom lived for nearly four decades. It was a nice apartment in a good facility and it served its purpose admirably, but it wasn’t a sentimental place.

The three of us knocked off packing late Thursday night and ended up hanging out in the living room, margaritas in hand, talking about whatever came to mind until far later than was probably good for us at our respective ages. And I think that is how I will choose to remember these last few days there before we turned the apartment over to someone new – a moment of conversation and stillness amid the whirlwind of the week and the backdrop of the last few months.

The moving hand hath writ and having writ moves on, said Omar Khayyam.

What he didn’t say was that having thus written, the memories are recorded and can be revisited. I think that’s just as important as the original meaning of the passage.

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