It has been a rather long road to get here.
It is certainly not as if I am under the illusion that my parents will ever be able to come back here. I am not. Both of my parents are now at the point that they need 24 hour care: TB The Elder cannot walk at all with assistance and my mother needs constant supervision. This is the reality we now live with.
That said, coming up and starting to "clean things out" has been a challenge.
Part of the challenge, frankly, is that we are our schedule, not any need to clear out the home and sell it. Part of the challenge is that they really do not have a lot of "junk" that can be easily disposed of; my father was an antique collector and thus most of the things in this house actually have value.
But the biggest part, I suspect, is simply me.
I tend attach feelings to things. I always have. Objects are not just inherently objects; they are imbued with the memories and associations of those that were around them. It is true for the things that I retain in my house, and it is true of the things that are.
Many of the things in the house are things that came after we had moved - but they were here every time that we visited, so in a sense they "belong" here. Other things - a surprising amount - are things that I remember from my own childhood as being in our house. These are even harder to contemplate getting rid of, as they are sometimes handmade or have deep associations with my parents.
But over a year has passed now since my parents have left here. And in small ways, I am starting to clear things out.
I was confident enough this week that I went ahead and got rid of all of the church related directories and phone books. The directories are all old and most of the people in them have passed away; the phone books for our rural area are very small indeed. I completely cleaned out a couple of drawers and sort of organized things for disposal.
It is not much of a start. But in my mind, it is a start. I have reached the point where the immediacy of my parents' presence here is gone and I can, in a somewhat clinical manner, begin to assess what can go, what should stay, and what (hopefully) I will likely have need of when we move here as well.
It still bothers me a bit, though: I stand in the midst of 80 + years of life and living and saving and collecting and in some meaningful way, I have become the arbitrator of value. It is not a comfortable position.