The good news is that our parents’ condo in Nelson has been sold. The subjects have been removed and in mid-October a new owner will be moving in.
The bad news, of course, is that they want to move into an empty condo. Everything had to be removed, all the furniture, all the boxes, all the pictures, everything.
Happily my sister had gone through the place in the Spring, tossing and re-packing, and had handled most of the heavy lifting. But there was still a lot to do, so last weekend she and I climbed into a big, honking rented SUV filled with empty boxes and drove up to Nelson from Vancouver and we started sorting. Everything that we put into our hands had to be either given away, thrown away, or packed to be brought back to our place. All I wanted were the photos, a quilt, an afghan, and the cutlery. My son and his wife wanted a chair and ottoman. A local charity was taking the rest of the furniture.
I don’t have to tell you how horrible it is to move. Tossing away boxes and boxes of opened food, half-full bottles of cleaning supplies. Added to that there was the mental strain of decision fatigue. The emotional wrench every time we ran across a piece of paper with our mother’s writing, a card signed by our father. We fell into our beds, exhausted, every night. And rose to face it all again, chaos and mess and piles of things.
To save our sanity we took time for walks around town and even had facials. To prevent the foolish choices that come from decision fatigue we quit at supper time, and spent the evenings relaxing as much as we could before early bed-times (we were pretty pooped after shifting boxes and bags all day, neither of us is in our first bloom of youth).
When we left after a last farewell tour of the now-empty condo we were relieved, but not comforted. We were so fortunate that we could do it together, my sister lives on the other side of the country and it was just luck that she was on the West Coast to attend a course and could take some holidays, because it would be exponentially more difficult for one person (hauling a huge old TV to the recyclers was definitely a two-person job). And we could help each other winnow through the collections of chotchkes.
One job I will be undertaking right now! is the labelling of the photos and slides I brought home. I have to identify all the faces I recognise and scan and email the ones I don’t to relatives (while they are still around) so we can catalogue them all. Note: pencilling “Dad” on the back of a photo with no date is not going to help someone trying to identify it 70 years later.
So it’s good-bye to Nelson, a beautiful city but one that we have seen frequently over the past 40 years. Now we will take trips to other equally-lovely corners of this fantastic province.