A few weeks ago I came upon some of the personal effects I had kept after clearing out my parents’ and grandparents’ homes. They had been stored for years and, indeed, I had completely forgotten about some of them. These were small things since I was born overseas and most everything had to be left behind.
Having brought these items to light, it just seemed like a good time to organize them, decide what to keep and how. I will not dwell upon preservation for genealogical purposes since that is covered in Mr. Bourland’s book, but on the feelings that this task had on me.
First of all, it took me a long time but all of it was pleasurable even if at times bittersweet. It was as if I actually was with the person whose legacies I was sifting. So many memories came to mind and, since it had been many years since the deaths of everyone involved, all of it was peaceful and almost as if I was able to spend time with the person again – what a gift.
Second, I was lucky that there is still one close family member alive that remembers everything (and even in more detail than me), my sister. I was able to pick up the phone and ask her questions. We joined forces and were able to reconstruct many episodes and anecdotes.
Thirdly, these were polished and included in my autobiography.
Fourth, unhurried and thoughtful decisions were made on what to preserve and how.
Finally, and most valuable of all, a sense of completion and grace descended on me when the task was done. I felt closure … but in the sense that I had closed a little gate on a beautiful garden that would be there for me the next time I wished to visit.
I am pressing the Enter button quickly because this feels like one of the most sentimental, even maudlin, things I have ever written. Just thought I’d share it in case it motivates or validates someone else’s feelings.