You know, I thought life would slow down after my grandmother died. We spent so much time taking care of her needs that I was sure we’d have a huge surplus of time once she was gone. Boy, was I wrong.

Unfortunately, when people die, we leave a LOT of things behind. In some ways, it would be easier if we were like the ancient Egyptians and buried a person with all their worldly possessions. Instead, we were left with furniture, clothing, jewelry, appliances, dishes, glassware, and countless other items that all needed a place to go. We also have several boxes of photographs; some of the subjects we can identify, some we can’t. Piecing together those relics of our history will be a nice little project for someone.

And then there was the house. When you’re spending all your time caring for a dying person, good housekeeping falls by the wayside. That house needed attention in the worst way. I cleaned cabinets until my fingertips were sore from scrubbing.

Our nation puts a lot of emphasis on where we live and what we own: the size of our house, and the quantity and quality of the things we possess. Since Katrina upended our lives 5 years ago, I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with things. Things weigh us down, drain our energy, fill our spaces and demand our attention. We need to learn to let go of things. What good are possessions when they’re packed away in closets and boxes? What’s the value in a photograph no one sees?

My grandmother had clothes that were never worn. She was “saving them.” What pleasure is there in saving things until they’re no longer any good?

I think we could all stand to take a good look at our attitudes towards things. There’s a lot more to life than what you leave behind.

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