“Reflection” by Odilon Redon

So, I was walking at the beach last night when there I spotted my gull friend with the mangled leg sitting on a post, one of the posts he used to sit on while Tim & I were eating. !!! After chatting with him for a minute I took out my cell phone. But, my cell phone skills are limited and it was set for taking a selfie and I was at a loss for how to change the setting. Grrrrr… The gull looked puzzled by my not eating and not having the regular camera. He might even have been wondering where Tim was. Then he flew off. Sigh…

I always had the feeling he was a bit smarter than most of the other gulls. He must be learning to ignore the fake gull alarm noise. So when I was finished with my walk I sat down and figured out how to switch the selfie setting on and off. I will refresh my memory before I start my walk tonight. I hope I get to see him again.

It’s feeling very good to be walking again. Surgery and radiation interrupted my morning walks but it’s kind of nice now having a fresh perspective and a different routine, evening walks. My body feels so different now. Much better. Even the things I reflect on while walking are a little different.

Last night I had a new thought to add to my tired story of having too much stuff to sort through from the ancestors. Tim’s father and my mother died before their parents (our grandparents). All this stuff would have gone to them! Our parents never had the chance to go through their parents’ things. Realizing this makes me forgive myself a little more for being so overwhelmed for so long.

Wonder what new perspectives might come to me tonight. 🙂


8 thoughts on “reflection”

  1. What an interesting reflection about how Tim’s parents never got to sort through their parents’ possessions. No wonder you’ve been overwhelmed. They would have sorted and sifted and thrown away a huge portion of it. I am also wondering right now if those of you who are so interested and fascinated with your ancestors have bigger troubles discarding items? Like there is a lot of emotional attachment to their possessions. Confession: I just gave away the one item I chose from my grandma’s house. It no longer contained her energy. It had just become another object. Not sure how it’s going to be when our parents pass. But am learning how challenging it can be from watching my friends who have lost the elders.

    1. I suspect those of us so passionate about family history do have more difficulty disposing of this stuff. Near the end of his life my father used a cane that his father had carved for himself when he was old. Right now I cannot dream of parting with it because of the memories ~ Papa using it and him telling me about his father carving it. When I mention this to my kids I get something of a blank stare. And I’m sure the cane will hold no meaning at all for Katherine. Memories are like everything else in the universe, they appear for a while and then disappear. That doesn’t make me so sad any more.

      I understand completely how your grandmother’s energy no longer remained in the item you chose from her house. How wise of you to recognize that shift. As I go through this stuff I will try to pay more attention to this. Here/now is far more precious than attachment to objects.

  2. I’m so glad you’re feeling better in yourself, Barbara.

    That’s an unusual and rather sad way for things to go, with parents dying before their own parents. But either way, I understand how hard it is to let things go. My parents both died within 10 years of each other and, with the loss of my dad, my sister and I shared out the stuff that was left – a huge amount of it – between us. We sold a few things, gave a few things away, but we’re both still sifting and sorting in our own homes. The action I take on things depends many different factors, not least of which is how far away in time I am from their deaths. I found it incredibly difficult to let go of things soon after they passed, but as time goes on it gets easier.

    I don’t know if it would help, but I use a few self-questions (which I’ve written in a pretty notebook that I keep for other self-help ideas) to help me each time I do a sort through? These are: “Which items which they gave me or which were theirs, would I want to remember them by? Which items best reflect them? And which of those make me feel good? (There’s nostalgia and there’s remembrance and the two aren’t necessarily the same thing.)” So I go through each thing and if still has a strong emotion attached to it that makes me feel good, it stays. If not, it goes.

    My dad was interested in a variety of different subjects and he had a huge collection of books (the sitting room on the family house was referred to as ‘the library’ because of it) and I’ve kept very few. Mostly they are ones that have associations with something he and I shared. With each year that passes, some that I couldn’t let go then, I find I can later. You may find that, too.

    1. Perhaps the sifting and sorting has to happen multiple times over the years because we find ourselves ready to part with certain things at different stages of our lives. It does get easier the more time passes from their deaths.

      The question I am asking myself these days is does this item mean enough to me to display it? I have some of my grandmother’s photography hanging on the wall, her secretary displays pictures of our ancestors, my father’s cane stands in the corner, I use the wood cutting board and sugar bowl cover my grandfather carved. (My mother broke the glass cover and her father-in-law carved the wood one to replace it. He lived with us until he died when I was in third grade. I love the story.) I saved one setting of my grandmother’s china and one of Tim’s grandmother’s china in a cabinet in the the living room.

      But the papers are going to be my biggest hurdle. I’ve go no problem tossing old receipts and bills, but my husband does, which frustrates me. Letters and books inscribed with the owner’s names and notes I find difficult to toss. But I guess I will just have to keep plugging away at it.

      Like you, I am finding that as time passes I can let things go more easily than I could ten years ago. Thanks so much, Val, for your suggestions and encouragement. *hugs*

      1. One thing I do that helps me let go of (some of the) things, is digitally photograph them (and back up the photos, just in case!) I keep meaning to print and put them in ring binders, I’ve done it with a few. But that way I have the memories of things without the bulk of them all.

        A tip, Barbara: photograph or scan your antique and vintage photos of family, and display those in or out of frames instead of the originals or you’ll lose the originals: daylight, especially sunlight, is an enemy to photos: it makes them fade. Also, if any damp from the air gets in, they will get mould. Put away the originals for your children or grandchildren. x

        1. Oh my goodness, yes, years ago I scanned and printed out pictures to display and pictures to put in (acid-free) binders, but when I thought it all done yet another couple of batches of photos came to me.

          I’ve also taken the time to identify the people in the pictures, even if their identitiy is obvious to me it probably won’t be to my grandchildren. And also, how they are related. It’s frustrating when I get a box of old photographs, unidentified, and have no clue who the people are. Sometimes I can figure it out, but this is all so time-consuming. Hope someone will appreciate the effort made some day.

          I know all about mold, living so close to the sea. I have thrown out many moldy, curled up photographs. Sigh. But nothing lasts forever so I stay philosophical about it. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Tiny! It warmed my heart to see the gull this summer. When this endless heat wave goes away I hope I will get down there to see him again and continue my walks.

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