rope. tree. fan. spear. snake. wall.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Boxes arrived yesterday.

For those of you who are joining us late, the division of labor regarding Mom's estate is as follows: my brother is the executor of her will and therefore handles all accounts and pensions and insurances and whatever else - the money end. Which is good, because I am so absolutely clueless in such matters that I can't even come up with an example of how dumb I am. My job is (well, was) the stuff. I had two weeks, which turned into nearly a month, to clear out her closet and dresser and go through knick-knacks and books and paintings and letters and... just... stuff. Which I did, and it was a very strange and awkward business, done in too little time.

Maybe other families do it differently, but it seems natural to me that the daughter would absorb the stuff into her own life, as much as possible. Especially the kitchen things should find a new home with someone who grew up with them and knows their stories. The pot that Mom used for making stew, which is still comfort food for me, or the griddle we used for pancakes, the muffin pan that makes flower-shaped muffins, or the baking dish that must have held at least a thousand tuna casseroles. The stories are lost if you pass these things to outsiders.

But these things are heavy, too. A lot of them are breakable. Shipping is expensive, and if I ship more than $50 worth of stuff to Germany I have to pay import taxes. So I had to leave a lot of things behind. I got the pie pan. A few wooden spoons. Some photographs of great-grand-relatives. The Muppet DVDs she was sending us one at a time, for birthdays and Christmases. A file of my childhood art and schoolwork. Two coffee cups, one of which broke in transit. Some cookie cutters. The light-bulb spice jars, which crack me up every time I look at them. Only a little bit of history. And I shipped them over, and worried for five weeks that the Customs guys would mess with them, because they have done before - they ripped all the wrapping paper off the Christmas presents Red sent us a few years ago. But these, they didn't even open, and everything came through okay except the one coffee cup.

And I'm relieved, I am. I'm happy that the stuff arrived safely. I can surround myself with little bits and pieces of her life, use them myself and add my own history to them, and that way she won't be forgotten. Wish I'd been able to find a way to bring over the stew pot, though.

Sorry this went on for so long.


Kelly said...

Maybe your brother can save it for you and I can bring it over? At some point? When I go to Germany?

Elemmaciltur said...

oooh, another expat? You probably got to my blog through CMHL, right?

About your comment on my blog...well, I would never expect anything from DB...they're just a bunch of - put it bluntly *excuse my langauge* - stuck-ups. ;)