Remember When

I just returned from my parents’ estate sale and felt inclined to share some thoughts. We tend to collect a lot of stuff in our life. Some of this stuff is the things we used everyday. Other stuff was the things we just seem to collect, tools and nick knacks and this and that stuff. Still, others are those things we can’t seem to part with as they connect us to a memory. These are the difficult ones to deal with for those who would be the sorters and cleaners of a lifetime of collecting. Do you part with them or do you ponder them and then move on? No easy decision. Do they carry the same memory for the next generation or are they just meaningful to those who have been forced to move on? I suspect and have experienced the latter.

As I wandered through the maze of furniture and tools, pictures and plates, I was overwhelmed by the memories some of the items resurrected. I will admit, that I took a few items from the pile just because they asked me to. But something else became evident to me. It wasn’t the “stuff” that was precious to me but rather the memories they invoked. So the question is, do I need to cherish the items to hold the memory or do I cherish the memory it creates? And do I need the item to invoke the memory? I think it became obvious that with or without the item, the memory will live forever and the memory is what I need to and will keep.

Bins full of bolts reminded me of a father returning from work at the plant, his lunch box full of the bolts he cleaned from the floor at the end of a long day. A day spent supporting his family. Or the cross buck saws and the memory of dad teaching us “it’s in the pull and release, not the push” as he schooled us in the “old ways.” Or the potato masher and the image of my mother preparing a holiday feast or a meal for the threshing crews. The sewing machine that pieced together the tattered knees of our denim jeans or something as simple as the “double fudge” boiler and the savored memory of seafoam candy at Christmas. Canning jars found me back in our old kitchen watching as mom and dad prepared dozens of jars filled with tomatoes and applesauce, corn relish and pickles. The aromas of the canning filling my senses. These are the memories I will keep, even as the items that reminded me are left behind. The items are just stuff and there will come the time to leave it all go. But the memories will last long after the stuff of life is gone.

One day, even mom and dad will be gone, but their lessons and their spirit will live on and surround us with loving memories every time someone says “Remember When.”


Progress and Hope

Update on the knee replacement. It has been two weeks and I am reminded by the PT people ONLY two weeks. I am ahead of schedule but have lots of muscle stretching and compression to go. Result, I have been asked to stay home for at least two more weeks after this one. When they remind me this is my new knee and the work I do on it and the time to recover will determine how good it will be, there really isn’t any argument. I have agreed to give it that time and the workout required, so now I become dependent on my coworkers and clients to understand. I must admit that it is very hard not feeling guilty but the pain reminds me that I must do it this way. Thanks to all who help me through this, by doing the rehab, cheerleading, filling in, being patient with me and for even just being able to visit.

The Healing Process

I am not usually a blogger but this experience has left me feeling a need to write. I am a service person by nature but I am humbled by the service given to me during my five day stay at the all inclusive Meriter Hospital. Along with a penthouse view of Madison from my 9th floor suite, I was treated like royalty by every nurse, doctor, CNA and physical and occupational therapist that served time during my stay. The genuine concern and caring offered by each and every one of them was humbling No matter the time, no matter the request, they were there with a smile and a touch to take care of me. Now I believe I was not high maintenance, or at least I tried not to be, but they still have to deal with a litany of whining, complaining and generally undesirable tasks that only one with a caring heart could possible undertake. On the bright side, I learned that talking about peeing and pooping is akin to “did I tell you what I did on my last vacation.” I especially want to thank the nurse, I believe it was Theresa, who performed the “pee dance” for me early one morning. Good news, it worked. At that point my catheter, aka :my little friend” was removed and my “man parts”, Deb’s definition, were no longer on display for all to see. Through all of this, these nurses and CNA’s never left you feeling embarrassed. I started the summer with a trip to Puerta Vallarta in an all exclusive resort, I have ended it in one that goes even above and beyond. Thank God for nurses with caring hearts and tender touch and oh yeah, health insurance.