I’ve been cleaning Dad’s house. He’s got some serious hoarding issues going on and I’ve been trying to get things organized so we can enjoy our spaces and not cringe when we walk through those rooms.
In my cleaning, I happened upon an old relic of earlier days. When I was about maybe sixteen, my grandmother bought me a sewing machine. It was a Singer, was gorgeous, had all the features (those available in 1986) and could sew beautifully. I used it a lot, making things, quilting, altering garments, various projects. But it got old. By the time I was in my 30s it was already as old as I had been when I received it. I got a second one just like it I found on ebay for parts.
Fast forward. It’s now twice as old as I was when I received it and I’ve since purchased a newer one which has all the features it had and more. As I’m staring at this relic from the past, I’m feeling all these emotions come up. My grandmother gave me this about five years before she died in 1993. At the same time, do I keep it? I got rid of the one I was using for parts a decade or more ago. This is bulk trash week in our area and I know someone would pick that up quick. If not, Waste Management will. But the idea of it sitting out there waiting for someone to come take it makes me feel a certain way.
I’ve really had no compassion on my Dad while I’ve been cleaning. Fact is, if EMTs came in and saw the state of some of the rooms in this house, it could create problems for him. As his daughter, I’m there to solve those problems before they become really big issues. So I’m tossing a lot of stuff and I hear him sigh and tell me, “I had planned to do something with it.”
Dad didn’t plan on getting sick. None of us do. But the things he values absolutely boggle my mind. Why does anyone keep stuff anyway? None of what I’m finding creates in me the wish to store and protect. Until I came across the sewing machine. But if I’m going to be ruthless with Dad’s stuff I must be the same kind of ruthless with mine. I haven’t used this machine in over twenty years because it needs servicing, service that will likely set me back more than what buying the new one did. Why hang onto it? Instead, just remember in the sewing machine I have now the love of crafts and creation that my grandmother fostered in me. Get rid of the old and invite in the new. Let go.