Sunday, July 21, 2013
Packing up a life
Just finished booking flights to meet my brother in St. Lucia to clear the personal effects from my parents' last home together. My dad's suits still hang in his closet, his shoes are still lined up under them, even though he died 17 years ago. And then there are my mother's things, cocktail dresses, elegant shoes, sequined clutches, things she will never wear or use again. She lives with my brother in Jamaica now, a tiny person looking out at the hills from her recliner. Those beautiful dresses would fall off her shoulders. I am told that church ladies in the rural areas will welcome the dresses, and that is a relief. I'd rather give away my mother's precious possessions than sell or discard them. Some things I will bring back to New York with me. My brother will take other things. We'll then need to arrange repairs and cleaning that will get the house ready for renting. Which will be tricky. Being an absentee landlord is always complicated—and expensive. Our children, who spent summers with my mother in that house when they were growing up, are very against our selling the house, and yet if we are successful in renting it, we wouldn't be able to visit and stay there anyway. It's in a prime location, right across the street from that idyllic beach in the photo above, but the house itself is old, and there's no telling how much it will cost to bring it to where it needs to be, and whether we will be able to afford it. We have a lot of decisions coming up. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.