It was one long weekend. My brother Brian and I arrived Thursday. Kate and family arrived Friday and we had a family dinner with all five siblings under the same roof for the first time since...(hold on, I'm thinking)...1980? Wow! L to R: Laurie Ann, Roy, Brian, Kate, Michael
Plus the kids and spouses (that's 8 more), which adds up to one full house. The viewing on Sunday and funeral on Monday were both emotional roller coaster days. I was happy to see friends and relatives I hadn't seen in ages, but so overwhelmed with the finality of my mother's death. I hadn't seen her since she'd been sick, and it was so much to take in. Realizing I would never be able to hug my mom again (she gave good hug) or watch the Rose Parade with her via telephone makes my heart sink. But I have great siblings and they all give good hugs. I'll just have to call Katie now with all my mom questions.
But it's done and now we can get down to the business of packing up and dividing the things Mom left behind. Kate and I (mostly Kate) started on Saturday with her dressers and closet. Clothes were the easy part; no one else in our family would fit into her clothes. It's the rest of the stuff that is proving difficult. My mother threw nothing away. Not in a hoarders kind of way (she was extremely tidy), but in the way that finds us with two boxes of every card we ever made her or gave her since Michael learned to write his name. There are boxes of ornaments and knick knacks, four binders of a magazine she subscribed to in the early to mid 80's, boxes for appliances long past, a vacuum cleaner from the Kennedy era (which still works), and so much more. My allergies are killing me from all the dust we stirred up, as well as the memories and nostalgia. I'm trying to remain unsentimental and not hang on to everything, except for the knitting and crocheting stuff--tons and tons of yarn and needles and books.
Here's a photo of all of the siblings, their kids and spouses and a couple of cousins, minus Brian's daughter and granddaughters (and Jess, who took the photo):