My father passed from this life to the next back in January. He had battled dementia for over ten years and took a sudden decline the day after Thanksgiving. He had lived with my sister since my mother’s passing back in 2014. Because we felt going through my mother’s personal belongings at the time would be too painful for my dad, we chose to leave things as they were, and he seemed content, almost happy, for us not to bother anything. So after his death, my sisters and I not only had to go through his things but their things.

Our parents were married in January, 1957, but both had memorabilia dating back to their own childhoods. My parents had a metal locked box where their most prized items were always kept. Piece by piece, item by item, we sifted through decades of old photos, legal papers, jewelry, clothes, and keepsakes. Among the interesting things we found was the original mortgage papers on their new home (my childhood home) that is now sixty years old. They paid $8,400 for that three-bedroom brick home. The house payment was $64 each month. We found newspaper clippings detailing the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Mom’s brother had been in World War II and fought in the Pacific. I found my dad’s watch that it seemed he wore all of his adult life. I came across my mother’s seventh grade report card and smiled that it had appeared she was a bit mischievous from the teacher’s comments. But, one of the most treasured articles I found was a Bible that belonged to my grandfather (my mother’s father). He bought the Bible in 1926 and had neatly written the date on one of the inside pages. Several passages had been carefully underlined, highlighting verses that had been important to him. For hours we rummaged through everything in that locked box.

There probably wasn’t anything of much value to anyone other than us children, and that was more sentimental than monetary. It was just a reminder that everything on this earth that my parents worked all of their lives could not be taken with them. Everything was left to us children. I think if my parents could speak to us now, they would simply emphasize the brevity of life and how things on this earth really do not matter. Instead of working for things which are very temporary, may we remember that each day is a rehearsal for eternity.