The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wrapping up a life...

This has been such a time of growth for me, experiencing the deaths of both of my parents in such a short amount of time. It is so much easier when life goes along on it's day to day path uneventfully; but if it were to stay that way, I suppose we would never know what it is like to develop perseverance or strength when tragedy touches home.

I have been busy and overwhelmed with so many details now of finalizing my parents' lives. Canceling accounts, closing policies, taking care of insurance, car and home decisions, faxing documents, sending agencies death certificates, etc...So many decisions to be made, meetings to schedule, and a constant reminder that I want to make wise decisions that honor my parents and their wishes.

I think of my parents lovely home, and all the reminders of them that are contained within those walls. Now, each item in their home...every paper, letter, dish, spoon, and momento, require a decision. Keep, save, give, sell, toss... Where do I begin? How do I take two people's lives; their memories, their cherished things, and determine what is important? Many things have financial value, and some things hold only sentimental value to me.

How do I put a value on the measuring cups my mom used for 40 years? What about the colander we used to pick boysenberries year after year? My dad had special magic tricks that kept my friends and me mesmorized...he intended for Kyle to have them one day, but how will Kyle know how to perform them without Grandpa to show him? What will happen to the plants my mom lovingly nurtured in her home? Amazingly, some of the plants my mom had she had kept growing for over 40 years! She started new 'shoots' and gave them to friends, and still has bulbs in the garden that she dug up and moved from 3 homes! They have bloomed every spring for close to 45 years...do I dig them up and bring them to Colorado? So many decisions...

How does one go about wrapping up the life of loved ones, when their memories are still living? I am trying to remember that their memories will never fade...their influence in my life will always be with me, and that things are just that, "things." Relationships...connecting with others...making a difference in the lives of children...loving life and savoring every moment...these are the legacies of my parents I will never part with, and really, they are the only ones that matter.

17 comments:

It's Always Something Around Here said...

Well reading this has me in a puddle of tears. I am sure you will make the best decisions and cherish all those wonderful memories.

Big, Big hugs my friend!!!!

Lou Ann

Beth said...

Things you never have to think of until you "have to" I know somethings have a timeline...but take it slow on other things! Hugs

Lazy Mom Amanda said...

that's beautiful!

LvPoohBr2 said...

I'm so sentimental that I would find this task incredibly difficult too. I'm the same as you, the measuring cups would have to come home with me. I could care less about the monetary value of "things" it's the memory behind them that counts. Journal and take pictures. That will help I'm sure! God Bless and know that there are many praying for you in this difficult time of your life.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This post is so moving, and oh, I have been there where you are! My parents died about thirteen years apart, but I can vividly remember having to make those tough decisions. It's funny what ends up meaning the most because those things are connected to precious memories.

If it were me, I would keep things that are very sentimental (the magic tricks, the measuring cups, the collander), and I would take some of the bulbs to plant and leave the others if the people who end up with the house want them. If not, take them all! There, simple enough! ;-)

You must understand that it's nearly impossible for a magpie to clear anything out, but I truly do understand. I still have my father's glasses and his bird dog whistle, and I smile when I see them displayed.

A friend of mine and I were talking recently, and she said that someone told her that the people you love will always be alive as long as someone remembers. And you do. And they are. :-) Share those sweet memories with your children and keep those precious loved ones alive to them and to their children.

Your parents must have been amazing peoople to have a daughter who can write this type of a tribute to them. I'd love to know them better. I hope you'll continue to share.

XO,

Sheila :-)

Melissa said...

Denise, I wanted to say 'thanks' to you for sharing all of this. You are always giving me something to think about, and reminding me to cherish those around me. I know you will figure out the best way to handle these questions, and I want to make sure that you know, you are an amazing person and so inspiring.

Sue said...

Denise,

You have such a wonderful way of putting your feelings down and sharing them with us. I am in constant amazement and awe of you, my friend. Take your time with your parents belongings, enjoy the memories you have and know that you have touched so many people's lives through this journey.

Love you!
Sue

glitzen said...

I remember that when my Grandma left us, we went through every single item. It felt so strange, all of us deciding what would be done with all of it. All so special, and yet just things. I have her bible now, and I wonder if she knows how much I treasure her little notes in the margins all through the soft pages. I gobble them up...thinking about her perspective, how some verses meant so much to her, and why.
I am so sad and sorry that you are faced with such tasks. It sounds daunting. ((((hugs)))))
I love the song you have on here now. This blog means so much to me.

Kim said...

Denise,
I love the comment about taking pictures and journaling the stories, what a wonderful idea! That way you can still have a visual reminder even if you can't keep all the items personally.

You are gleaning so much wisdom from your readers. As always thank you for sharing your heart as you continue on in the journey.
LYLAS,
Kim

Shannon said...

I just want to give you a big hug. You have me in tears. I'll be praying for you and all of your decisions.

Sit A Spell said...

I lost my Dad at the age of 55...my mama is now 71 and didn't seem so grand at Christmas. Your questions have been going thru my mind in the past 3 weeks since my visit. She gave me our footed fruit bowl from my childhood...is it worth anything...to me it is : ) I pray you are able to work thru this difficult time. Keep things that make you smile and remember...

linda said...

What a beautifully written post and one that will make you sit back and think. It makes me think about what my 2 kids will do when I pass away. Will they cherish the things that I cherish?

I know you will make the right decisions because it sounds as though you are a very caring and tender hearted person...you care about how your parents would react to the choices you are making and that says alot about you. I have no doubt you will make them proud.

Rose Haven said...

Glad to see you back to blogging. We continue to pray for you!

~Blessings,
Jan & Tom

Blue Castle said...

What a difficult task. God bless you and give you comfort.

nbadevlin said...

Denise,

You are truly an inspiration to all who share your life. I feel so honored to be a part of your journey..........one that must be so challenging to face. You are always in my prayers and in my heart. Thank you for sharing......you.

God bless,
Mitzi

Lucy Marie said...

Denise, I agree with what some commenters have said about taking photos and journalling. A scrapbook with photos of some of the items you were not able to keep will be cherished for years to come. Also, I would suggest letting your children have some say in things they would like to keep for the future. Their perspective on what they remember Grandma and Grandpa for might be very different than yours. I know I have a few things I was able to keep when my Grandma passed away 8 years ago that I really cherish in my home now. Take your time with this task (as much as possible - I know some timelines may limit that possibility) and seek support through it all. God bless.

Darlene said...

Your post is just so moving today. I can't even imagine what you are going through. Just know that my prayers are with you.♥