You Can’t Take It With You When You Go

They say you’ll never see a hearse with a U-haul behind it…

I beg to differ!

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As you can tell from the picture above, I’ve been in both the moving business and the funeral business here lately. I couldn’t pass up this photo-op!

After an adventure of what I’ve been calling “My Big Fat Gypsy Move,” I’m finally settling into a rhythm with a new job and a new home. It’s strange to think about all the changes that have occurred in a short amount of time, but I sure am glad to have my microwave out of its spot in the passenger floorboard of my car and my clothes out of the suitcases they’ve been in for the past month.

I’d say I have a new respect for folks who move more often than I have or over longer distances than I did. Every time I unpack a box, I say to myself that I’m never buying anything else ever again.

Strangely enough, moving has also given me a new perspective on what families encounter when packing and cleaning out after a loved one dies. Simply put, it’s a lot of work.

I know I have a lot of “stuff,” and I live in a one bedroom apartment with basic furniture. I can’t imagine boxing up, paring down, and dividing a 3 bedroom house. Yet, people do it every day. It makes me wonder what the average time lapse is between a death and the “settling” of an estate. I know estate sales are common, as is renting storage units to help with the paring down  part of the process. Family arguments over possessions are also common, and, unfortunately, the stories on this topic abound.

The truth, however, is you can’t take the “stuff” with you when you go….. Sometimes people tuck memento’s into a casket, but I have yet to see a U-haul at a funeral. I don’t see a lot of “stuff” at funerals, but I do see a lot of people at funerals. I see a lot of love and support for family members who are left to process through both their grief and through all the “stuff” left behind. I see hands that show up willing to help in any way possible, and I see how beautiful memories are re-lived as times past are uncovered. Sometimes the sentimental value of our “stuff” really is an important thing to acknowledge–whether it comes in the form of a watch or a piece of jewelry, a hand-written letter, or a simple photograph of days gone by. May we learn to treasure the things that really matter, and celebrate the relationships surrounding us instead of just our “stuff.”

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