I seriously started last year this time cleaning out my mom and dad’s home. My sweet mom, Em, passed away 5 years ago after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. My dad had to make the decision to live with us due to health issues. Now for some reason, I just could not do this task for over 5 years. I just did not want my dad to feel another loss, that of his home, so closely associated with the loss of Em. I tell myself that, but also I just could not let go of my home. My security. The ones that had always been there for me. The place I could always go for comfort. After living with us for a while, my dad came to the realization that our home was his home now, and it was now ok to clean out and sale. You will see this was not just the cleansing of a house, but it became the cleansing of my soul.
The task was overwhelming. I am an only child, and my husband is also, so there really were no relatives to rely on for help. And the one or two cousins I am very close to were dealing with their own lives. Our children, the grandchildren, were also busy living everyday lives. But last January it was evident the time had come. The cleansing had to happen.
Cleansing is a difficult task and especially in this case. You touch everything and have a memory associated with what happened, where, when, and who it happened with. It is painful, especially when you have seen your parents work so very hard to maintain a home and household. They were both children of the depression, and having anything was seen as a luxury. But on the other hand, cleansing also allows you to laugh, cry, sigh, and be angry. I will never forget the day I started in the dining room. I held a piece of my mom’s crystal in my hand, sat down, and cried as hard as I did the day she died. Being a depression child, this piece of crystal meant so much to Em. It stood for security, stability, having food, being warm at all times, and having a roof over her head at all times to call a home. This was truly rich. It was used to celebrate birthdays, Easter, Christmas, and even a great summer night meal! It was just an object, but it came with deep memories and associations. They had so little being the children of tenant farmers and laborers, they truly knew what it meant to be poor. They had spent their life providing all possible so that I would never want for anything. They did not want me to go through what they had gone through.
Cleansing allows you to cleanse your emotions. It allows your soul to let go. It helps you to see clearly where life has been and what life means. Especially when there has been loss. I really feel every year needs to be a cleansing year. Maybe not just physical things, but emotionally. We need to see ourselves and the life we are living. Where we have come from and where we intend to go. We need to cleanse ourselves of unnecessary goals, unproductive paths, and people that drain our lives. So, this time of the year is perfect for the cleansing of your soul. Not for setting unrealistic physical goals, but for examining the true life you want to live. But to do this we sometimes have to clean the slate and just start over with the jewels we have. We finally got the house completely emptied—and it is at that moment when the cleansing had occurred that one realizes what a true home is—-all the souls that have been there, what they did, and what they contributed to your life. We have some of the tokens to reboot those joyous and exciting experiences, but mentally the love is so deep one could never lose it and no one could take it away. The cleansing of the soul is the same. Afterwards, what you have left is truly yours, and what you need to remember becomes very clear. Please read and reflect if there are any areas of your life that need cleansing today!
Years of Cleansing
The slightest color or object itself brings memories to the surface.
Whether these bring happiness or sadness.
The big brown bean pot holds my crayons you would hide for me.
The bright yellow pottery vase was the same color as the daffodils you would pick for my birthday.
The frosted fruit lighting the crystal bowl which always made the room glow.
Your choice of a special place in the room so the fruit illuminated the darkness.
The cross stitch picture with the Irish blessing and gypsy couple dancing hung proudly in the kitchen.
The motto of our family and the first piece of cross stitch you taught me to make.
The rich green pottery flower pot providing the growth for red and pink amaryllis.
They adorned the spots next to the gas heater to warm the rooms in winter.
The maple bookcase with sliding doors that exposed the precious books and writings within.
You placed this right next to the big couch and chair where I would always find a place to read.
The English man and woman with their shiny glaze and aristocratic appearance guarded the spindle table.
They stood stately as if they were in a palace or castle.
The tiny ballerinas so tall and straight toed.
Held the lights that signified celebration and another year of growth.
The shiny ornaments sprinkled with glitter and beads.
All signify the brightness of a season!
The quilt, now worn and rugged, bears the names of family.
Its softness warmed us in the winter and tucked us in for a good night sleep.
The yellow plastic corn holders push into the ends of the corn.
When these came out we knew it was summer and time of sweet fresh corn.
The Aladdin oil lamp stood tall on the hearth.
Positioned and ready at any moment to spread light during a storm.
The wooden carved clock, stately in its place, kept us up on the time.
Its chime set by the maker in the “30s reminded us where we were.
Some see these things simply as objects.
But for some the year of cleansing is the year of being.
The objects represent good places, times, and people.
All of which one does not want to forget.
Cleansing releases fear,
Yet retains memories of love.
Although painful and hurtful,
Cleaning brings joy, laughter, and tears.
It shows one where they came from.
And it sends one where they should go.
Lori Rennae Hickman Chapman
I know many of you have experienced exactly what I described today. I know unfortunately, some of you will have to go through this in the future. I pray you can use this as a growing experience. I hope you can cleanse your heart as well as your life where ever you are on the journey today. You do not have to suffer a loss to cleanse your life. Most of all I pray for peace in this process. Now, get those rags and cleaners (spiritual words and journals) and get to cleaning! Happy New Year!
2 thoughts on “Years of Cleansing”
I know exactly what you mean about delaying the cleansing. When my dad passed away I stalled for years not wanting my mom to see and be reminded of what filled her life while my dad was alive. My mom has lived with us since my dad passed. I too am an only child and it is so hard to have that all land on your shoulders. Peace and cleansing for 2019 my sweet friend.
I have done what you did and felt exactly the same way, but could never have expressed it so beautifully. Thank you!