Shipping Shiva

Yesterday was a day of contemplation and remembrance. Today was a day of activity and decision.

With the invaluable and incredible help of a childhood friend, Cliff and I packed and shipped nine boxes, totalling 208 pounds, of Mom’s stuff to my house.

When I say “help”, that actually means that my friend packed nine boxes, totalling 208 pounds; Cliff and I took them out to the car, and I took them to DHL and sent them on their way. If I had been doing the packing, I would probably still be working on the first box; fortunately, our friend knows how to wrap and pack (he’s actually had to ship light bulbs to Iraq as part of his job (your tax dollars at work) and they got there safely). And he didn’t have to make any decisions about what to ship, just how to protect and distribute it.

Cliff and I spent the time deciding what I’d ship (he’d suggest stuff and I’d say “yes” or “no”, and occasionally he’d twist my arm to get me to take something, which is how I wound up with nine boxes). We also did a search and destroy pass over Mom’s papers, getting rid of old bank statements, greeting cards, letters, and medical data — we tried to err on the side of safety, of course. And since he can just drive things to his house and sort through them later, we weren’t as drastic as Diane and I had been at her father’s house. (I just hope that not too much of the “later” stuff is in the boxes I shipped….)

There are also bagfuls of things for the Salvation Army, as well as tons (probably literally) of furniture and other items which he’s going to put into storage until one of his children is ready to furnish an apartment. I might have liked some of the furniture — it did have memories — but not enough to store or ship it.

I probably should have been sad as I went through all the stuff, but I was too busy to really think about it. It’ll hit me one day soon, I’m sure. But it was a better day than I expected it to have been — and spending it with old friends helped, too. And I must admit I was motivated by the thought of not flying back to Richmond to finish the job later in the month; I would be very happy to spend more of the month at my house than at Cliff’s, unlike the situation in April!

After dropping the boxes at DHL, I raced back to the house for the shiva minyan, arriving a few seconds after the Cantor, but well before the appointed hour. Tomorrow, I’ll also be racing to the house for a shiva minyan, but this time it’ll be a race from the airport. I think I’m ready.