End of Life Clutter Clearing: An Emotional Process

Mom and brother Mark overlooking the water view from Mom’s house.

I’m gearing up to clear out my mother’s house. My mom is adjusting well to her new home in Gayton Terrace, an assisted living facility near me in Richmond, VA. Now it’s time to take the next step, clear out Mom’s home in Kilmarnock, VA and get it ready to sell. It will be a big job, but I’m so lucky that my mom and her husband had only been living there for about 13 years and both regularly got rid of things. They were neat nicks and great purgers. Compared to what many people face when their parents leave their homes, this job will be a breeze–on the physical level.

What has surprised me are the waves of sadness I’ve experienced since I made the decision that it’s time to begin the big clean out. It wasn’t my family home. Yes, I’d had many nice visits there with Mom and John, and this last year with just Mom since John’s death last January. It’s a lovely home on the water. But the sadness has more to do with dismantling the physical remains of two lives that had been intertwined for 27 years. Mom and John had a deep love that begin in high school and reignited in their late 50s. They loved their life together and they loved their home.

Mom and John carefully tended their home, kept it neat, clean and organized. On one level–the physical level– that will make my job easier, but no less difficult on another–the emotional level. How will I do it? I will work hard to remember that what I’m doing will benefit my mother who needs to close this chapter of her life to be fully present to her new life in Richmond. I’ll keep in mind that Mom will also benefit from the funds generated from the sale of her home. I will also remember that I will benefit because I currently carry all the responsibility for the safety of the home, a home that is a 90 minute drive from my home. I need to have this chapter closed to better be able to focus on Mom and her needs and to have greater peace of mind.

But, it’s still sad. I will allow the sadness and enjoy the memories that emerge while I work to respectfully close the door on this chapter of my mother’s life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *