I have been dreading this trip to Nebraska. The task of cleaning up mom's storage units seemed daunting and I knew it would be emotional. But we also had some additional things to get done. On Friday, Geoff and I met with his lawyer to get some of our questions answered regarding mom's estate...taxes, deeds, titles, medical bills, etc. That, in and of itself, left me feeling a little overwhelmed. I feel like I don't have enough life experience to be walking through all this. A friend of mine asked if I feel like I'm playing "grown up." And that is a good way to put it...I feel like this is the stuff your parents have to do and I'm just a kid with no knowledge of what I'm doing but having to do it anyways. I suppose you never really know what to do until you have to walk through it yourself, regardless whether you are 30 years old or 50. Anyhow, after we met with the lawyer and ran a few other errands we went to pick out the marker for Mom's grave.
Then, on Saturday I got started on the storage units. The first few hours were really emotional for me. In the midst of mom's belongings were bags of old receipts, garbage, opened boxes of food and dead critters. There was lots of weeping. Phone calls to Brandon. Hard, hard moments. By the end of the first few hours I was doing a little better and I had made my way through a little less than half of one unit. At that point, I had five contractor size garbage bags full of things to pitch.
As I loaded them in the car to take to the dumpster, I grabbed the bottom of one bag and it tore open. Out rolled a pill bottle with an opal ring inside. It was such a sweet reminder of the Lord's presence with me there. Opal is my birthstone and it was like a little gift to remind me that even in the midst of all the mess, the Lord is in control. He knew exactly where that ring was and had that exact bag tear open in a place where it could roll out and not get thrown away.
There were lots of other finds throughout the days too. Ones that made me smile, like this picture of Brandon and Geoff with Maggie and Riley from the Christmas we were dating.
And others made me sad...like this Hawaii travel book. Mom always wanted to go to Hawaii. She had a trip planned years ago, but it got cancelled and she never got the chance to go.
There were also interesting finds, like this silver penny. It is actually a 1943 steel penny, but definitely the first one of its kind that I have ever seen.
By the end of two days of cleaning, I had filled a total of 15+ contractor garbage bags to dump and there was still three van loads of stuff to move out of the units that we were intending to keep and sell at a garage sale. As Geoff helped me load the last of the boxes in the van we looked up and saw this rainbow in the sky.
Immediately, I thought of mom. My mom loved rainbows and she would always stop to take a picture of one she saw. My aunt even read the lyrics to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at her memorial service. And to make it even sweeter, the bottom corner of the rainbow (the brightest corner) ended right were our childhood house sits. What a great reminder of God's faithfulness to us in this whole process! I felt like He had designed the whole rain storm and rainbow especially for me and that moment. What a great way to end the trip's clean up!