It has been six and a half years since the passing of my husband’s first wife and two and a half years since I took on the grand decluttering of her stuff.
From the start of the project, whenever I relaxed my single-minded plowing through the boxes and bags of old teaching materials, used books, personal effects, discarded housewares, broken furniture, craft supplies now laid aside, …, I could sense a herd of Velveteen Rabbits whispering from box to box, wondering what had happened to their “Little (Girl) Blue” who had kissed them and boxed them up and told them to be good until she returned. (ref. Marjory Williams and Eugene Field)
Then one evening I returned, a year after my first pass through it, to the decluttering of Christmas stuff — enough to rotate out the decor of three homes for years to come. On the earlier pass, not daring to discard any rabbits, I’d pulled out only the most obvious trash, repacked the rest more compactly, and labelled all the boxes.
But a year later: a three pound bag of released paperclips and whole herds of released rabbits later?
A year later there was a library benefit garage sale imminent. There was a deadline for getting donated stuff to its organizers. A year later I could pack up six cartons of what had meant “Christmas” to her and ready it to go. And within minutes of unloading it into the capacious site, it was dispersed to the dozens of tables laden with similar stuff.
Oh dear rabbits, I hope you found good homes. I know you have brought blessings to whoever adopted you.
We’ll not miss a molecule of any of it, my husband and I; we kept back what we like.
But now I know much better, this lady whom I never met, one who had dreams of which I am now the chief executor, responsible for their respectful dismantling and laying to rest.