July 14, 2014

You know how you think to yourself "I can totally do that!" so you sign right on up and then the actual doing kicks in and you think "What was a I thinking!?" Uh! Me Too!

I've spent some time in the last week deciding that I must not like myself at all for agreeing to handle the following, but then I realize I love my family second only to God~ which is super awesome so I remember to like myself very much.

I posted in passing last month that my Nana moved to Heaven.  On June 13th she slipped peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her children.  Her children who I later found out had been holding hands and were singing to her at the time.  What a testament to Lillie Beth and the magical love she freely gave to all.  God was alive in both of my grands~ joyful, strong~ and  I selfishly miss them so very very much.

I looked at the phone as it whistled, seeing "mom" on the caller ID, knowing what words were coming.  What I didn't expect was the sound of her voice.  My 67 year old mother's tone was that of a 5 year old as she said "My mama's gone."   The tears came immediately.  Not for the broken heart I had prepared myself for, but instead for hers.  For the grown up little girl on the other end of the phone who had just become an orphan.  There is no empathy strong enough to affect that.

In the following weeks I watched her with her sisters and brother begin the necessary process of closing that chapter in their lives.  All but my mom live out of state, so they came and stayed here with me...at the house they grew up in, the house we all grew up in.  Room by room they collected tangible reminders of memories, belongings that Nana had specifically assigned to go to each of them.  I have heard horror stories of families falling apart over stuff or money after someone passes, but as I watched them from the shadows I was overwhelmed by the compassion and selflessness and love they showed one another.  I have never been so honored to be a part of something as I am to have been blessed with this family.

It was the last time any of them would be together in this house, and I couldn't find a way to be present as over several days one by one they said goodbye in the living room that hosted our Christmases, Thanksgivings, reunions, lives.  I can't even imagine what they must have felt, and I could do nothing to help.

Which brings me to the point of this post.  I was asked if I would be willing to handle the disposition of the remaining physical estate.  It wasn't really a question I could say no to, because were I to be unwilling meant one of them would have to do it.  And as emotionally overwhelmed as I feel right now, I can not imagine how much more difficult it would have been for them.

If you've never handled the preparation for an estate sale, especially that for a loved one, it is not something you should undertake without first understanding that it will rip your heart out and stomp all over it several times a day.  But it is also the last gift you can give to a loved one who has departed this life.  With every dish I wash I can picture it on the table filled with an awesome southern cooked something.  Like the syrup dispenser that held my grands' homemade blueberry syrup that my brother and I used when we had our pancake eating contest 36 years ago.  This is all taking some time, eating away my days and both breaking and filling my heart, but every minute spent comes back to the love, to my Nana and my Granddaddy, to my mom, brothers, aunts and uncles and cousins and life.  I feel honored to be doing this one last thing~ to be closing this chapter in my own life with the care and attention it so richly deserves.

There's a mess, y'all, and even my lil bit of OCD wants to kick me in the shin.  Hard.

I have a week and a half to finish, and I will because that's what I do.  Maybe I was the right one for the job after all.



  1. That was beautiful Miss Juls. I am nodding here in agreement as we went through something similar in May with the moving on of my mother-in-law Olive. The fact that you were asked is a great gift to you. You were the right one for this task and your Nana would be proud of what you are doing to help those still in the land of the living to keep on living and loving and remembering Her. Hugs to you, sweet friend! Be gentle with yourself and wrap yourself in love. Praying for you and your whole extended family. Enjoy the day. Erin

  2. You know when you read something and there really are no words that you can say, but you still want to try? That's where I am right now. Definitely thinking of you, praying for you and your family, and sending you internet hugs. May there be peace and healing and the strength you need to get everything done.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your family! And how blessed you all are to be part of a family that is described with words like empathy, overwhelmed by compassion, selflessness, love, joyfulness, strong - you are a blessed, compassionate woman Juls! Your family did an awesome job raising you! And I have no doubt you pass it on to all around you. ~~T

  4. You my sister are an amazing gift from God. I know your Nana & Granddaddy are looking down on you with the brightest glowing smiles, so proud of you and so grateful for the way you are honoring them. Your heart is bigger than 1000 oceans and know we're all holding YOU in our hearts! Prayers, light & love in the week ahead! I know you can do it and I'm so honored you shared this part of the journey with me! Love you sis! xoxo

  5. We went through this with my grandmother as well - I got a similar phone call from my mother when she realized it was time for her weekly call with her mom...and that she wouldn't be doing that call any more. So, now she calls me instead. Hang in there!

  6. You have my sympathy in the loss of your Grandmother. I lost my Mom on June 7th so I understand your pain.