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A person collects a lot of things in 89 years.

When my mother-in-law died this past January, her wish was that we - my wife, sister-in-law, our son and daughter and our niece and nephew - divide her furniture and other personal effects as we saw fit.

With my niece in Virginia, my nephew in LA, my son 2 hours north of here (but still in Indiana) and my daughter just having graduated (with honors, no less!!!), it was a task getting all the wishes together in one place, but we finally did.

My daughter is moving into an apartment with two of her high school classmates, marching bandmates and terminally close friends. My son and daughter-in-law just bought a house that needs furnishing. My niece is getting married in the fall and my nephew and his girlfriend (maybe, I hope, fiance) are relocating to Seattle and buying a condo there. So, the fates have arranged that there's plenty of need for furniture!

My wife simply wanted the remainder of the formal dining room suite; a hutch, small storage cabinet and mirror that goes with the 12 foot table, chairs and corner hutch we were given when we bought this house. Earlier, we got about two lifetimes' worth of sewing supplies and a bunch of cooking stuff. My daughter took a bedroom suite, built (of solid wood - MY BACK'S KILLING ME!) in the rounded corner, slightly Art Deco style of the 40s and 50s, two recliners, some end tables, lamps and a school desk; later, we'll get around to telling her that the desk was removed from the elementary school where her grandmother taught for over 30 years.

My son took a dining room table and chairs and a matching hutch, a monumentally heavy sleeper sofa and a 50's era console stereo, assorted sofas and living room chairs as well as a lot of smaller things. There was a little sadness there; that downstairs roon is where we used to gather on Christmas Eve after dinner to open presents while the fireplace blazed and the stereo played carols; the last two years, we did that upstairs because Mother Battin couldn't negotiate the stairs.

My niece took a pair of twin beds (she and her fiance, I assume, have one of their own ;-)) and all the related dressers, nightstands and lamps. Since my nephew inherited his mom's eclectic tastes, he wanted all the random Oriental-themed items - and got them. My sister-in-law took just a few small things she thought she could use.

There were a few tears shed and laughs had as we stumbled upon some pictures and other things (my daughter-in-law, finding a picture of a grinning 8 month old boy: "What a big mouth on that baby; Jeff, honey, that's YOU!")

It was hot, humid and miserable to do this, but yet wound up being a reaffirmation of what's really important in life.

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Sorry for your loss

In reply to: A person collects a lot of things in 89 years.

You got lucky. I've seen many a happy family torn apart because the deceased did NOT have a will.

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Such endeavors are ...

In reply to: A person collects a lot of things in 89 years.

... always bittersweet. Glad to hear the division of things went smoothly, however -- what a shame bickering over who gets what can be. Condolences on your loss Paul. Now, I'll be praying for your back to recouperate!

Evie Happy

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As far as recuperation goes, Evie,...

In reply to: Such endeavors are ...

...other than some sore muscles, I'm OK.

Mother Battin's death was expected, as she'd been fading for quite a while. The real test will be the holidays. We always had Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners at her house (with abundant leftovers for the next day). Now, all that's changed. My son will host Thanksgiving dinner; his first large family get together in his new home. My sister-in-law and wife will host Christmas Eve at my sister-in-law's (just next door to where my MIL lived). We'll do just fine celebrating and remembering.

If every married man in America had a MIL like I had, that there'd be no more MIL jokes. She was a passionate and compassionale lady who cared deeply, loved fiercely and was above all else dedicated to the welfare of the members of her family. When I first met her, Samia and I were already married, amd from everything I had heard about her, I was REAL scared. I needn'y have been; she took me in and welcomed me royally.

When she was in the hospital in early December, we geared that she'd not het out, but she rallied and was able to take her usual place at table on Christmas Eve. Just before she came home, I visited her. When I walked in, she looked at me and said, "Paul, I swear that you're getting better looking all the time!" She always had the Irishwoman's hereditary gift for flattery...

At her funeral, I asked our minister if he'd read something from Proverbs, and he did so. It is a beautiful description of the type of woman she was:

The woman of worth

10 A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
she brings her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
22 She makes herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the city gates,
taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
29 "Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.

I see her every day in her daughters and through them, her granddaughters. She'll always be with us.

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A wonderful tribute Paul

In reply to: As far as recuperation goes, Evie,...

I thank you again for sharing.

When my grandmother passed away (many years back now) we went around the table at Thanksgiving and shared our memories of her. It was a wonderful tribute and even my Mom and her brother and sisters learned a few new things about their Mom from us kids. A few tears were shed, but more laughter and fond memories.

Give that DIL of your's some extra support in hosting her first Thanksgiving. Our's isn't even that big a family, but I recall being a nervous wreck doing our first Thanksgiving! All of my cousins and now the aunts and uncles are scattered across the country. It's been several years since we all last got together. Sadly now it is for funerals Sad

Evie Happy

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A Great Story!!

In reply to: A person collects a lot of things in 89 years.

My girlfriends mom passed away a few years ago and the first thing her brother(POS!) said to her was "How much can we get for the house?".She was devastated to say the least.So,we took out a second mortgage on our house and bought him out and sent him(POS!) on his merry way.We emptied the house and attic and kept some things for ourselves(A beautiful original Bessie Pease Guttman print.."The Butterfly"...which hangs in our living room)and gave things to our kids and grandkids.We also found some vintage games that had been her brothers when she and him were kids.
We put a new roof on the house with the money we made from the games on ebay!!

You have been blessed with a great extended family and I envy you!!

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In reply to: A person collects a lot of things in 89 years.

And the greatest thing left by her was memories,which you all got to share and take with you...

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All in the family!

In reply to: A person collects a lot of things in 89 years.

I can empathize with the work you did.

Mother was the Queen of Pack Rats.

My sister, brother and I went through he photographs. Then we took things we had given her as gifts (if we wanted them). A nephew took one bed. A niece some odds and ends. The stove went to the Salvation Army, along with curtains and sundry items. The rest was bought by a vintage store for $150.

I gave our daughter her extensive collection of costume jewelry, and her wedding ring.

The worse was my going through every letter she had saved. I kept the ones from when our children were small-a good history. I saved a lot of memorabilia from WWII and beyond.

The rest of the furniture my husband and I moved on a dolly or on top of a wheelbarrow across a neighbor's yard to our house. I had to find room to put them. It was crowded She had a lot of books, which added to our own huge collection.

Then our son bought a house, so some of the overflow went there.

My brother in CA had always wanted the small maple butterfly table. So I later boxed it up and sent it to him by UPS/

In my present apartment I have the bookcase set (it goes around a corner) she and Dad had bought when I was young, and 3 cabinets that fit perfectly in this 1930 house. Also a cricket chair from the same era, but it's in the attic. Those chairs are very comfortable, but the joints are prone to coming loose. The 100+year-old Duncan Phyfe sofa I had redone is in my son's home, along with things that were hers and ours. I have her love seat and wing chair. Still in the family! (Don't know what we will end up doing with those 43 boxes of books!)

"All in the family" is a good thing!

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Was with smiles and a bit of sadness reading this

In reply to: A person collects a lot of things in 89 years.

Smiles because it is always wonderful to hear of families that are filled with such love and caring as yours. As one of the other responses mentioned, there are some that are far from that.

The bit of sadness is because just this last week I completed cleaning out Orion's room. There were many who told me that I needn't do this so soon; but I felt it was necessary, and I'm glad I did.

You see, Orion was preparing to move away from home, and his room (the larger of my boys' rooms) had already been promised to my young'un, Kelton ''after Bub moved out.'' So Kelton and I spent a period of about 5 days sorting and reminiscing. Since we had just moved about 1 1/2 yrs. ago, there wasn't a huge amount of stuff, but I was only able to do this for about an hour at a time. It was so hard to go through his drawers and to hold his prized possessions in my hands.

For a 10 y.o., Kelton has surprised and pleased me with his level of understanding and his depth of compassion regarding Orion's death and others' feelings. There were many times that we would be working away in the room and I would pick up something and all of a sudden begin crying. Kelton would patiently wait, then put his hand in mine and tell me that it was ''okay to cry,'' and ask if I needed to stop for awhile. He said to me one evening at the end of a long day, ''Mom, I want you to know that I don't mind it when you cry. It just means that you loved Bubby alot. I am here for you when you need my support. Just ask.'' Those were really and truly his words. He is such a sweet boy.

After we completed this difficult chore, Kelton took off for a few days to go camping with his Grandparents. He had already picked out the paint for his new room (a beautiful dark aqua color - he wanted a ''beach'' theme), and we surprised him when he returned home with having it all finished. The look on his face when he saw it was worth all the effort and tears.

A person can collect a lot of things in 18 years Happy

Family is so precious. Thanks, Paul, for sharing a story about yours.



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In reply to: Was with smiles and a bit of sadness reading this

I think your task was far tougher. After all, Mother Battin's death wasn't a shock; she'd been fading for a while. In fact, we thought that she wouldn't make it to Christmas when she went in the hospital this past December; but she surprised all of us and was in her usual place for Christmas Eve dinner and the gift exchange.

Your loss, being so unexpected and with Orion's having been so young, is of course far more difficult. It's good to know that you have plenty of support.

Kelton sounds like he's a fine young man. Give him a big hug - often.

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(NT) (NT) Thank you, Paul - extra hug given *just because* :)

In reply to: Marcia,

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There were many who told me that I needn't do this so soon;

In reply to: Was with smiles and a bit of sadness reading this

I can see this logic, but also see the opposite. Whether sudden or expected, there is always the "going through the things" phase. General wisdom is that it is better to do so sooner rather than later. Wisdom always being what it is of course Wink I've known (though not particularly closely, enough to observe) a few families that have tragically lost a young member as you did Orion. The risk in not going through the room is that it becomes some sort of shrine to the departed. I think what you and Kelton have done sounds far better. You have a special child and you KNOW you will always have our support here. It's sure going to be rough for many months and years to come. Words cannot express my feelings or wishes that somehow a do-over would change history. I am so very proud of you and am in awe of how your family has handled this. Orion will forever inhabit a special little nook in my heart, even though I barely knew him.

Evie Happy

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Re: shrine to the departed

In reply to: There were many who told me that I needn't do this so soon;

Yes, I have seen this before. I always felt so sad for those people that were unable to move beyond the loss of their loved one, and, instead, chose to create an environment that continually reminded them of the pain. It's as if they are afraid that if they don't recall the depth of that emotion every day, they may perceive themselves (or feel others will perceive them) as not loving or missing that person enough. It leaves very little room for personal growth of any significance, and stifles ones life to the point of merely "existing" rather than "living." I could not do this to myself or my family.

Your comment, Evie, of Orion inhabiting a "special little nook" in your heart, is so very meaningful for me. Several members here have stated similar thoughts. The one thing that is most difficult to think of for the future, besides the fear of emptiness never subsiding, is that others who knew him will forget him. It is comforting to hear sentiments of remembrance.

Thank you Happy


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Wonderful to hear of a close family

In reply to: A person collects a lot of things in 89 years.

Hi Paul,

What a wonderful story you've told us! Thanks for sharing it. I'm sorry that y'all (and the world) has lost such a fine woman. Seems she had a fine son-in-law, too! Happy

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(NT) (NT) *blush* Thanks, Cindy

In reply to: Wonderful to hear of a close family

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