Sunday, 20 February 2011

Thank You

Thank you to all of you for your lovely and supportive comments on my last post - I'm so sorry I haven't been able to get to say thank you individually to any of you, but I'm truly grateful.

Life is all a bit overwhelming still at the moment with so much to sort out, but I know one day I'll get there. We had a skip come yesterday at my mum's house and with the help of some very good friends we began to clear some rubbish outside, so many pairs of hands made so much progress and even though I'm an only child I am incredibly thankful for my mum's cousin, who goes to her house every day, and for all my friends who are there for me, when people are traipsing around ankle deep in mud getting soaked to help you you know they really care.

I'm trying to clear the inside of the house. It's very hard, most of the rooms look like this:

You can see some of the beams of the house - when I've cleared out I'll try and show you the rooms properly. Everything's all mixed up in each box, in each one could be a couple of old books, perhaps the odd piece of costume jewellery, or even the odd bit of silver, some family letters giving information about relatives, some pages of my mum's own notes about her life, usually a couple of financial documents, some pens, elastic bands, some junk mail, some mouse droppings, almost always an odd sock or two and a pair of old tights and lots of dust.

I am not joking. Especially, sadly, about the mouse droppings. A couple of dead pigeons had fallen down my old chimney a few years ago too and were lying there extremely dead, but I'll spare you any photos. It's not all that bad - some boxes are just junk mail and it's really satisfying to just recycle the whole lot! I felt quite ill at the end of yesterday though and must make myself wear a dust and mould mask I think, however hard they are to breathe in.

I've chosen to go through each one because I just don't want to take the risk of throwing away something precious - I'm particularly interested in finding out more about one of my great-grandmothers, I've found four postcards she wrote in 1906 at the bottom of a draw but don't want to miss anything else. I also found yesterday the letter from the BBC in 1957 offering my mum the job of reading the news, as well as my silver Blue Peter badge! So it's a bit painstaking, but I'm very efficient and can clear quite a few boxes each day.

I'm finding all my dad's clothes as well as all mine and my mum's - some of hers are from the 40s, 50s and 60s but sadly most seem wrecked, but I'll salvage anything I can, there are a few lovely dresses. So it's emotionally and physically draining, but I'm sure we're making slow progress and it's always really nice to find a family letter - I was never really that interested in family before but now with everyone gone it seems very important. Thankfully my grandmother was very good at writing people's names on the back of old photos so I've got good clues.

I may have to give up being thorough and just chuck stuff away quickly if it all gets too much, but there's such a lot of history in that house it seems a shame, documents and letters from the first world war time too which I'm sure someone will find very interesting even if I can't keep them all. One day I'll try and show you some of the nice discoveries, there are a few - I'm now wearing my grandmother's engagement ring - not valuable but really nice to have. So I'll take photos of prettier things next time now I've showed you the dust and mess!

17 comments:

  1. You have such a positive attitude! :) I know that it may feel overwhelming at times but I hope this process helps you heal and leaves you with good memories from the past!

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  2. My goodness, I didn't realize it was as cluttered as that. What a monumetal task. BUT, like you said, there's "gold in them thar hills" and you are mining a trove of family memories. I hope you are healing inside as well.
    Looking forward to seeing some of the fun things...
    trish xx

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  3. Oh, my...I don't think I realized it was that bad, either. In your shoes, I would feel like bursting into tears, totally overwhelmed. I'm so glad you have a good circle of friends and extended family to help out.

    Please make sure you take extra good care of yourself at this time. And I hope we do get to see some of the wonderful finds...Those old postcards, family letters, rings, etc., are irreplaceable, if not in terms of financial value, certainly in terms of sentimental value. What amazing finds!

    Good luck with it; I'm sending lots of (((hugs))) and universal Light.

    -Kim

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  4. I wondered how you were getting on. Must seem like a mountain ahead of you but you will get there. I am so glad you have such good friends.

    Colette

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  5. oh Wow! What a huge job you have! Here is hoping that you find good things to help light your way! xxx

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  6. oh my goodness and I thought my Dad could keep things well but your Mum really did keep everything. May sure you take care of yourself and don't burn out without realising, it looks like you have a lot on your plate. I love the idea of her keeping all her junk mail, you should have returned them all to sender as a punishment to them :-) Take care and thanks for your lovely comment on my blog. xxx

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  7. Oh wow. I wish I could help you!! It's a big HUGE job - all hands on deck!!! I remember clearing my sister's flat when she passed away in 2009 and it was a very small flat but it took us (me, my mum and aunt) a LONG time to sort all her papers, clothes etc. I still have the box I saved from her of all the things I knew were precious to her and mean something to me. It was very hard to let go of her other things though.

    So I think it's just lovely that you're treating all your mother's most treasured possessions with the care and love they deserve. And a whole load to discard - like the junk mail!

    Your mother was an amazing woman - amazing!!! A trailblazer for women - a beautiful woman.

    Please take care. Hugs to Archie!! :-)

    Take care
    x

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  8. So glad you have found time to post amonst all your hard work.

    You really have got a job and a half on your hands. Keep on going, you will get there in the end. So glad your freinds are helping you out too.

    Hugs to both you and Archie.

    Alison
    x

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  9. Uh, oh....I know the feeling.... inundated with boxes and bags of "stuff"..... and you're absolutely right.... if you just toss the whole box or bag...you risk tossing out something important or valuable! Just take your time ...well, masked... and just enjoy wading through it all. It took me months to go through my Mom's stuff. I found out more than I wanted to at one point...but...eh....so what,... she was human....

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  10. Dużo ciężkich chwil przeszłaś. Życzę pogodnych dni.

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  11. My thoughts are with you as you sort through all this history and memories. I hope you find many happy ones to lighten your task, and many treasured keep sakes to remind you of happier times. So glad you have awesome friends to help, just remember to tackle it a little at a time.
    Kind Regards
    Jenny x

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  12. Oh dear, what a huge task for you and such an emotional rollercoaster. Im glad you have supportive people around you.. Try to take it a box at a time & avoid giving yourself time deadlines if you can. Will be thinking of you.. Deborah x

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  13. A heart wrenching task but you are right to take your time. You will feel you have done the very best you can. x Jo

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  14. Oh my, what a huge task you have, but one full of memories and surprises. When too many things get on top of me, I stop, take a deep breath and remind myself "one thing at a time", and I hope you can do the same, don't rush or panic or get overwhelmed, just do a little bit at a time. It would be a shame to miss finding something special and it getting tossed out in a hurry.
    I hope you are getting through your grief, I know it is a difficult time, and I am thinking of you.
    Thanks for your message to me, Sammy is still with me and doing okay at the moment. I will blog about him in a day or so.
    Hugs to Archie. Take care.

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  15. What a hard job you have. I am glad you are taking your time sorting through the things in your mum's house, when my hubby's grandmother died a few years ago he went to help his dad sort out her flat. Hubby managed to save some things but his dad just chucked an awful lot, something he deeply regreted later. The papers and letters will be so facinating and worth keeping as family history for your children in the future.
    Take care of yourself.
    love
    Lyn
    xxx

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  16. Hi,
    I am sorry for not having kept in touch lately but as I have said, I have been busy with several things and preoccupied with family issues. Well, if the truth be known, my dad passed away just last week and I didn't really want to post that on my blog but just thought I'd let you know how I understand what you're going through at the moment.
    Take care,
    Annalisa

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  17. I'm so sorry to hear about your Mum. Hugs to you.
    You certainly do have a big job ahead of you. I know what you mean about wanting to go through every thing piece by piece to make sure you don't toss something important. And I'm sure there are a lot of sentimental pieces.

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