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The Ups and Downs of Change

Reading between the Pines
There are many things I don’t know about life, but there’s one I absolutely do. It’s full of change in both ways we really want and others we undoubtedly don’t.

One of the biggest unwelcome changes everyone must face is when a loved one passes away. The sudden absence of someone truly meaningful shifts the pattern of our days and puts us on a new course, ready or not.

If you’ve ever been in the position of winnowing through a deceased loved ones’ possessions, you know that determining the “value” of the mementos left behind is tough. As much as we try to honor the past, life sometimes becomes commoditized, drilling down to a series of lists to be checked off and eventually thrown away, like when sifting through decades of someone else’s memories delineating a keep pile, a sell pile, and a trash pile. It isn’t fun, and especially not for me.

I’m a classic discarder. I’ll put your glass in the dishwasher before you’ve gotten halfway through your drink, and you’d better nail down or hide anything I consider superfluous, because I’ll toss it into the trash before you have the chance to remember it was ever yours. This is especially true with anything containing the words “stocking” and “stuffer,” and if it was purchased at the dollar store? Forget it. It never existed as far as you know.

Putting me in charge of anything you might want to keep is a mistake, so much so, that as I painfully tried to determine what was “valuable” in my grandfather’s estate, I let four vintage Denver Broncos beer mugs slide out of my hands and into those of a resale dealer.

The next morning, I woke up in a mild panic as I realized my mistake. I’d weighed the relevance of these glasses solely on my future use of them, not on the treasure trove of past memories they invisibly held.

Luckily, the resale dealer had given me her card, and when I called her, begging to give her $20 back in exchange for their return, she immediately understood and agreed. And now, the glasses sit in a prominent place in our kitchen, there to be used if needed and if not? To constantly remind us of a person we truly miss, cherish, and love.

By Stacie Chadwick




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