To continue with things I’ve learned from the recent passing of my mom, I wanted to share an experience from clearing out her apartment. When she moved there nine years ago, my mom took beautiful artwork, tasteful pieces of furniture, and enough photographs to fill an entire closet, from my childhood home.

While clearing out her apartment, I felt a strange sense of peace knowing that she had lived so long and participated in everything she possibly could. It was gratifying to see items that I wanted to stay in the family were chosen by my siblings and their children. Most of the remaining books and other items were gifted or donated, which felt equally as special. At the end, there was still a roomful of furniture, most of which I had seen while growing up.

There was my bedroom dresser, the desk where I practiced my cursive writing, and a special mirror that was the first thing I saw when coming in the front door. Then there was one particular piece of furniture that kept drawing my attention. It was a wing chair that sat in the curve of the baby grand piano in the living room. It was a comfortable chair with a tall back that provided me with a safe haven on days when being bullied at school became overwhelming.

I toyed with paying to have UPS ship it to my home. Someone said it was a great chair but it would need to be re-upholstered. If I re-upholstered it, would it still be that same chair? Someone else suggested that I buy a different wing chair. I realized it wasn’t about the style of the chair; it was about that specific chair. No other item in her apartment held my attention that strongly. A voice in my head said I should leave the chair behind; yet I kept resisting.

Finally on the last day, when I was by myself in her apartment, I decided to sit in the chair and “hear” what it had to tell me.

“I take the safety, support, comfort, and protection offered by the wing chair with me.
I hold it in my heart knowing it gave me a strong foundation to build my resiliency.
Now it is time to spread my wings and allow the chair to support someone new.
While it is irreplaceable, it is time to release it.”

I realized that some things we take with us because they have a special connection – like an item my father had made for my mother. Other things we need to make an effort to transform, such as melting old jewelry or creating a new use for them. Then there are the items we need to give away to allow someone else to share in the enjoyment we felt. In the end, the chair stayed because I learned the lesson, understood the feelings, and knew that it had fulfilled its purpose. It was time to move on.

What items do you have in your physical or emotional space that need to be transformed or let go of?

© 2017 Systems of Change, LLC