Crazy as it sounds, I’ve been driving around since early autumn with two bags of Mom’s clothes in my trunk. They were last summer’s clothes, and had been packed up shortly after she started falling more frequently. At that time, we made a concerted effort to clear as much furniture out of the room as possible as a safety measure. Well, I kept meaning to take the clothes out of the car, and then as she declined, I just didn’t want to deal with it. Of course, after her passing, the thought of facing them was even more difficult.

Today, I finally brought the bags in the house and sorted through them. I also organized some of her things from Eason House and placed them neatly in a plastic bin for the time being… There wasn’t much, actually. A bag of cards, her Dora doll, stuffed animals, decorative pillows, a prayer blanket, and some other odds and ends. I still haven’t touched the dresser full of clothes.

Before packing away her Kermit the Frog, I squeezed his hand and listened as he sang the song that always made her smile. She used to light up and make all kinds of funny faces as Kermit’s head bobbed around to the music.

I sat down for a few minutes, held him, and had a good sobbing cry. She loved that silly green frog. Her dear caregiver Susie’s son had brought it into Eason House one day, and she enjoyed it so much that Brett let her keep it. I knew things were bad when Kermit no longer brought a sparkle to her eye and a smile to her face…

I also paused with a needlepoint picture I had made for Mom back in 1998, the year she retired. I’m sure at the time, those words were very meaningful, but it wouldn’t be until years later that I’d realize their magnitude … A mother is one who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take. Truer words were never spoken. I miss her so much.