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I just returned from Florida where my sister and I spent four days deconstructing my parents’ home. Both Mom and Dad passed within the last couple of years – and we just sold their house after a series of rentals.

It’s been bittersweet and liberating at the same time. It’s hard to let go, yet a burden to hold on to a house, which no longer is practical nor functional.

During the past couple of days, I observed my process. At first, I was a bit numb, a bit sad, and then thoughtful as I poured over mountains of memorabilia and photographs, trying to remember the actual emotion of that moment. I also saw myself grow up. From looking at photos from when I was a baby to childhood to adolescence to womanhood. I wish I had listened more. And, I wish I had seen more of what was in front of me.

It clearly takes a long time to become mindful. And unloading my Mom and Dad’s belongings made my keenly feel their exuberance for life. They were in love till the end. And their birthday and anniversary cards, of which there were many, reflected their ongoing affection and friendship. They surrounded themselves with their travels and collected a bit of everything from all over the world. They lived as they died – with their family and collectibles around them.

The experience reawakened in me the importance of history, heritage, ritual, and, of course, family. It’s the legacy that I, too, want to leave but definitely with a few less tchotchkes! I left with a light heart…and a heavy suitcase!