Clothes in cuts of shirts, pants, coats, jackets, sweaters, blouses, nightgowns and robes. Not
underwear or bras – throw these out. There’s too much of her in them to give someone else. Shoes in boots, sneakers, pumps, sandals, slippers. But not socks – sweat from her small feet remains.
Clutches, wallets, purses, totes, umbrellas worn through from shade. Lawn chairs from 1972,
a white elephant gift from her last office Christmas party. The machine she sewed on, the recliner she called 911 from. Blankets she kept on her couch and her bed – surely someone could be warmed by them. Miniature wicker furniture for stuffed animals, dolls.
Faithful things – angels in the shapes of people and bears, heart boxes with crosses holding lost buttons. Keep rosaries and St. Christopher, St. Theresa, St. Jude. The Sacred Heart, the Virgin, St. Joseph with his son on the shoulder.
The shower curtains can go. Plates and glasses – one eats off a plate at a time, drinks from one glass, not two. Pots and pans, glassware for deviled eggs. Keep unopened Jim Beam, but not nail files or floss picks, half-used shampoo, missing its matching conditioner. Not the loofa or thin soap bar.
Give a kind memory to her daughters and a word to remind them those sheets are not her, nor the curtains in the closet or the space heater in the other closet. These piles are not her and she is not here to be angry.
Remember, I remind them, she joked it was a mess she would gladly leave us as she left us.