My dad lives in a retirement community in Florida. There’s nothing unusual about that. Lots of people end up in those places. There’s a fairly high turn over. To be brutally honest, people die there all the time. Relatives are always cleaning up after the funeral.
One of the things that struck me is how little stuff of value most people leave behind. By the time they’ve moved to a trailer in Florida, they’ve cut back on the amount of stuff they own. Life gets pared down to the essentials: some clothes, a few dishes, a TV and a few mementos. There may be a car and/or a golf cart.
Most of the clothes and kitchen stuff is given to charity. Maybe someone takes the TV, but often those are sold or left behind. Someone will claim the car. What surprises me is how many of the mementos end up in the dumpster. Old family photos, albums and albums worth, are tossed away. Too often the things that documented a person’s connection to the people of the world isn’t worth anything to anyone.
A couple of years ago my mother-in-law had a great idea. She gathered up all her old photos. They were put in nice new albums and carefully labeled. Those albums were given to her kids, and grandkids -the only people in the world those photos will have any meaning to. We all appreciated getting them. It connected people to their past and to their ancestors.
Most of us don’t leave much stuff behind when we finally shuffle off this mortal coil. If you want to leave something that means something, better do it before you go. Otherwise, in the haste to get things squared away, the story of your life will go into the trash.