The other day, while visiting my mother, she told me she had so much stuff that she doesn't know what to do with it. I suggested either giving it to the Goodwill or tossing it in the street for clean-up week that will be happening. Then I pointed out a few things I noticed that she has not used that could be tossed. But everything I pointed to had a reason for her to hang on to them. Like the old "Fonzi" bike that was rusty, sitting in the backyard that my forty-year-old son last rode when he was maybe seven years old. Or the piano, with busted keys that sits with boxes under it and is totally out of tune. She said she couldn't get rid of it as my dad sits down to play it every so often. I remember he always played by ear whatever song you requested. He hadn't had a piano lesson in his life but yet could play anything. His favorite to play was "On the street where you live" by, who I believe, was Vic Damone. And he played it with passion. Sometimes he would even sing along. But I just can't seem him moving those boxes to sit down and play as often as she is leading me to believe.
There were also things old neighbors who had past away had given to her that she never used or used maybe one but just had to keep. Things from neighbors like, Caroline, Hazel, Jeannie…and so on.
There were things from aunts and uncles who had also past away years ago.
She's not a hoarder. She keeps things in order. But I really feel she would feel a better sense of calm and relaxation if she could let go of the things.
Then I realized…by my mother hanging on to all those things she felt she was actually hanging on to the physical being themselves. They had been close to her and to her maybe every time she looked at those things or touched them, she was holding hands with that person, or holding their hand….even though they were no longer here on earth.
Or the piano….hearing my father playing that song with such love and enjoyment as one of the two of them sang along…it was a sight to see. It brings a smile to my face.
Maybe to me it would be good if she tossed it all out. But maybe for her it's actually a very good thing to hold on to…until SHE is ready to toss it all….and maybe she never will be ready.
As for now, I realize the meaning of the song, "On the street where you live" means so much more to my mom….the street where she lives, lives on with all those things she keeps at her house. She is surrounded by her family and neighbors…from the street where she has lived for over 60 years.
And the song in her heart that all those things brings up each time she looks at it keeps playing and playing and keeps her heart happy. And that's what matters most.