I loved my grandma Mary. She was a strong and witty woman who often conjured up the funniest things to say. I will never forget the unfortunate day she fell and did not get better. As time passed, realizing that her body was not healing, she began going through the things in her home.
I am pretty sure those things in her cupboards had been untouched since I was a little girl. They were special to her in one way or another, but for decades had not seen the light of day. She began divvying them out to people. She sold a few items too–grandma always loved a great yard sale.
Inevitably one day she ended up being rushed to the hospital. Fearing death, in a panic, she confided to her oldest daughter that hidden inside the wall of her bedroom closet was $60,000 cash.
She had these things. Great things. Even a treasure trove of money, but in the end it didn’t matter that she had them at all. She moved out of her home and into my parents, and then into a rest home, and soon had nothing but a suitcase of belongings to her name. Just like all of us will, she eventually left this earth with what really was hers. Her intelligence, personality, experiences, talents, and yes—even her wit.
Earlier this month as I prepared to move, I began reaching deep into my cupboards. Having had moved and simplified a year earlier, I felt like I hadn’t kept much. But I was wrong. I pulled out everything stored in my closets, shelves, and cupboards. The very last things that were near and dear to me. Many things that only a year before I felt I could not part with.
It reminded me of the end of my beautiful grandmothers life.
I thought about how brave she must have been to decide that it was finally time to let go. What a strong woman to have done it and not have left the task for others. My heart ached for how she must have felt.
Channeling my inner “Mary”, I found myself, like her, being brave and letting go. And as I let go I cried. I mourned the end of an era. The end of owning all of these things I once used but had not needed for years. But I also knew that I would never use them again—even if they were kept in a dark cupboard or hidden inside a wall.
Today I am living without things deep in my cupboards. Without worrying about hidden money inside the wall. Without unnecessary items that take up time and space in my mind. Things that hold me down and anchor me to one place. Things I would fear leaving behind.
No, I am not dying. For me, it is quite the opposite.
I am finally living.
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