Clean Up Commences: Slightly Ahead of Schedule

My Aunt Tillie's beloved Geraniums and her gloves sat waiting all year for her return.

Feeling restless and cooped up, I decided (bad decision) to head down to my Aunt’s house. I had heard her junk mail was pouring out of the mailbox. I had heard the lights I had activated by an auto timer had probably burned out. I needed to round up some keepsakes as well.

When I arrived I saw the letter carrier’s rig parked down the street so I knew he was working the block some where near and I soon found him. We chatted, he extended his sympathies and I discussed the delivery of the crap mail and I told him I would clean out the interior of the mailbox.

Once at the house, I was struck by several things. I had mentioned to a neighbor, the day of the funeral, that I needed to get down there and clean up some things before Spring commenced. I said it in passing, more as a ‘I’ll be seeing you soon’ type comment.

The lawn was cut, edged; the walk way was powerwashed. The front porch…the front porch my Auntie loved to sit upon and chat with neighbors, had been a holding spot for all manner of stuff to include pots for plants, work shoes, hand tools, broken wind chimes, little containers of fertilizer or potting soil. It was all gone. The front porch was completely void of any objects to include all the planter boxes and Geraniums. The front porch had been power washed as well. All that remained were her little green work gloves on a window sill ledge. Wow!

Wow on so many fronts: There was no indication, save the empty planter boxes lined down the driveway were all the stuff had gone to but into the dump or appropriated. The Geraniums were mostly gone from the freezes but there were a few still holding on and sentimentally I would liked to have nurtured those few along into Spring as a tribute.

Part of me was annoyed. A bigger part of me was appreciative and understanding. It was much like this…when I was about 8 y/0, my dad mentioned to me one Summer’s morning that he needed to weed the garden when he got home from work. When he got home from work, I had by then completely weeded the garden and all his new starts of peas and beans and removed every vestige of green from that garden. I remember his stunned silence. I remember his kind words. Only later did my mom explain the the how to’s of weeding. I am thankful the neighbor did all that work, that would be setting there now. I am lucky he helped out and the drive down alone was exhausting from my respiratory glunk.

I went into the home. I emptied out the mailbox. I entered the living room and more than ever her essence, her self was seen through out the hoarding home. Remember we had dug into the interior of that home for several months last Summer with the misguided thoughts she would soon be home after her broken knee healed. Of course, that was a mistake as we learned about dementia, as we dealt with her ensuing  broken neck. So, I could see the personal touches on the shelves and fire place mantle. It was bittersweet. 

When the cleanup commences (after rest, a vacation, getting back into the flow at work too) there will be a reckoning more pronounced that she is gone. I felt it at my mom’s house. I will be feeling it here. Part of the long process that will be extended out by the scope of the mess.

As I was walking to my rig, the neighbor man came up. I could tell by his look he ‘knew’ I would be excited by his cleanup efforts. I shook his hand and thanked him. I told him I would be seeing him soon, but I didn’t mention any projects I might be undertaking, just yet.


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