Appreciation, love, marriage, memories, Writing

Why the Disappearing Woman Disappeared

My father-in-law’s sudden passing has caused us to be temporarily situated in a golf and beach community in South Carolina.  I’d love to share that we’ve been gallivanting about, via  golf cart, wearing funny pants, and attempting to be under par, but we’ve not. I’d, also, like to tell you about sand between my toes and shells in my beach pail, but I can’t write about that either.  We’ve been doing the sad task that many 50-somethings must do after their last parent passes; settling an estate.

My husband is the only surviving sibling, so the two of us have been handling all arrangements, attending to all legal matters, and sorting through the home that is proving to be a time machine into my husband’s past. I’ve seen has birth announcement, hand written by my mother-in-law 58 years ago.  I’ve read a letter from his sixth grade teacher, telling of his kindness and brilliance.  I’ve held the picture that won him a beautiful baby contest; a story my mother-in-law often referenced when bragging about how good looking her son was–and still is!

Though this task is in its beginning stages, I’ve sorted through what feels like a million papers and boxed up a plethora of things for donations, sale, and haul away.  In spite of the sadness, there’s been a measure of  joy in getting to know another side of my in-laws.  I’ve read ancient letters from friends, throughout the years, who complimented their ability to laugh and find fun in nearly every situation.  I’ve viewed photos of them in their late teens through their early 80s, taken at the various homes they lived in and  places all around the world that they visited. No matter the scenery, their smile and their loving gaze was a constant. I’ve shuffled through business plans and product prototypes to discover that they were brave risk-takers.  I’ve held my mother-in-law’s wild costume jewelry earrings from the sixties up to my own ears and tried to imagine the crazy parties that she may have wore them to in her younger years.

Oddly, there is a healing in this unavoidable process and a deeper wisdom. In the end, there are things that remain that will tell our stories; most are simple pieces of paper with words or pictures marking milestones, successes, failures, events and memories.  There are other things, silly things, like favorite sweaters and worn-out slippers, or eye glasses near a favorite book, or even half eaten bags of potato chips that remind us that we’re all so damned human and habitual.

Love the people you’re blessed to have in your life and reach out to those around you.

We may be down here for another week or so, tying up loose ends before we head back to the cold weather of West Virginia.  One of the many silver linings of this entire trip has been enjoying weather in the 70s in February.  I wish I could ship some of the sunshine to my northeastern blogging buddies!

As for my disappearance from WP lately, please don’t give up on me!  I plan to reappear as things settle down.  Hope everyone is doing well. 🙂




11 thoughts on “Why the Disappearing Woman Disappeared”

  1. *BIG HUGS*

    I’m so sorry to hear the news. Always a difficult bridge to cross, yet we all have to do it. Saying goodbye to a loved one has a profound feeling of permanence, and that is overwhelming. Go and take care of your family. This WP family that you have here will undoubtedly be waiting for your return.


    1. Thank you so much, Rob. It was a very sad trip and very difficult going through my inlaws’ things. We arrived home last night, and I’m trying to readjust to the temperature difference and the lack of alligators and lizards! Though I haven’t visited your blog yet, it looks as if you’ve made some changes just by your new title! I can’t wait to check them out! 🙂

    1. Hi Dora! Thank you so much for your kind comment. We’re finally back in chilly WV. This made me think of clearing out my stuff, too! Fortunately, my inlaws were very neat and clean. All of their things were very well organized and the home was in left in perfect order. There was just so much to do all around that it was overwhelming. Take care. It was certainly nice to hear from you! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Elaine! It certainly was a rollercoaster. We arrived back home last night and I’m spending the morning getting organized after being away for so long. It was so nice to hear from you.! 🙂

    1. Hi Kitty! Great to hear from you. 🙂 You’re so correct about real life coming first. I just got back last night and have been trying to get reorganized here in good old, cold, WV now that I’m home. Have a great day!!

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