I didn’t know who my Grandma was.
I didn’t know, never had.
How was I supposed to clean out her house, plan her funeral, and keep her children from committing suicide?
I had finished the kitchen of this house. I was commissioned to pack the stuff into boxes and “give it to someone else.” I refused to do that. I kept some of it, of course, because I was going to get my reward for this. Other things, most of it, really, was put into flimsy cardboard boxes I had gotten from a nearby gas station dumpster.
I labeled the boxes with a red sharpie for the kids.
They might hate me for it later and that was fine. I knew a decent amount of people who didn’t like my cynical manner and that was okay.
Today, in this bright 5am morning, I was going to eat before I started work.
I inhaled the scent of the sausage burrito from MacDonald’s and unwrapped it. I took a bite, letting the calories fill my mouth and surveyed the attic, where I was sitting on an old wooden chair. I was fascinated by attics, always had been.
This one, however, was a bit different than I had hoped for. There were boxes but, oh man, no one ever mentions the DUST. There was ever so much dust around me. With my free hand, I reached over and pried open a small wooden box.
I figured I would find old, saved Christmas letters from the year 1930 or something. What I found was alcohol. Too early, I told myself as I picked up a few of the bottles and examined the names. Might have to try some of these.
Grandma, hiding alcohol? Seemed like a funny thing to just put up in the attic when she just as easily could have pulled it out during some sort of family gathering. Although, now that I thought about it, enough of the family already drowned their problems in alcohol. I remember my grandma hosting family gatherings and all of the cousins bringing their own beer coolers.
Family was kind of stressful, I thought to myself as I walked around the attic, looking for another likely box to open. Instead, I found a letter on top of one of the many piles of junk around and decided to open it.
Prying wasn’t bad when someone was dead, right? Its not like anyone was going to see this unless I read it first, anyways. I tore open the letter and looked at it. She was long winded but had beautiful handwriting.
The letter was fascinating and gave me a small inkling that maybe I should have gotten to know her better while she was alive instead of assuming she was some boring old person.
Dear Whomever Finds This,
You must be cleaning my attic. Maybe I am in an old person home or just plain passed on to the grave? Wherever I am, I wish you well with cleaning this attic out. I’ve prayed for you many times before, since I know the job ahead of you is not an easy one. I have accumulated a lot of stuff but I imagine that will be the easiest part of dealing with an empty house. It seems, often, that empty houses create empty hearts. I’ve certainly had an empty heart before, or at least what I thought was an empty heart until I remembered that those around me still wanted a place in my heart whether it be family or friends.
A few notes for you:
The attic has a lot of old stuff and you might try selling it to an antique shop. Most of the basement is a bunch of junk, as far as I’m concerned, as it was my late husbands packrat storage area. My jewelry…I hope that will get to some of the younger women in the family. The letters may prove of interest to the people they are addressed to, but should be given at the right time. You may also find some other surprises in the house and I wish you well. I dearly wish for the next person to own this house will love it like I loved it because I certainly hate to think of the empty hearts it will create.
God bless you,
Ps. I left some boxes labeled for the neighbors. They didn’t all like me but they all deserve love so if you find anything you think they’d want, please pass it on to them!
If this were a book, would you keep reading? -Trixie