I've been filling boxes with things that Anthony left at my house when he passed away on June 6. I still have boxes of my mom's things from her house after she passed away in January. It really sets me thinking doing this twice in one year for people that I cared for. First with my mom, going through her clothes wasn't too tough although she had WAY too many. Going through boxes of things she kept, however, was hard. I don't envy my brother at all. He had to deal with so much more than I did. Some things were confusing. Who were these people in photographs or why did she keep this? We'll never know.
With Anthony, because his last few years were so difficult for him there wasn't a lot to go through. However, he'd just tried to consolidate all of this things at my place over his last few months to make it easier to rebuild his life. Sadly, that wasn't going to be an option for him but he was forever optimistic!
So, going through these things have really shed light on who he was and who my mom was, what each of them valued and who each of them cared for. Both them have had one thing in particular that have just stopped me in my tracks and given me a good cry.
Being a principal, I get school pictures taken every year. Every year since 1964 except for my college years, my mom would get a nice set of photos of unphotogenic me. When I was a little boy, I'd give them to her when I got home that day. I was slightly more photogenic then although that's debatable!
We found this note in her desk. She written the date she got it and put a smiley face next to the "your side of the family" notation. Yeah...I cried.
Anthony was different, of course. I have things to give to his family, to his close friends and other things I have no idea what to do with. The guy needed to clear his pockets out of change and clean (I hope) Kleenex once in a while! Every pair of pants, coat, and jacket had some of each. But in his box of papers, was a copy of a picture I had take of him in the snow. He'd written in his scrawl "First snow February 12 Thanks, Kevin!" Yeah...I cried.