An Unenviable Task

January 9, 2019 at 11:07 am 56 comments

For Friday Fictioneers 100-Word Challenge: 11 January 2019

Priya Bajpal
Photo Credit: Priya Bajpal

 
It was a science fair project that Ellen made while in grade school. It was composed of fruit jars and seashells she collected while on a family vacation in Hawaii.

After her widowed mom moved to assisted living, Ellen was left with the unenviable task of selling the family home and clearing it of its contents.

“Do as you please,” her brother who lived out of state told her.

Still, she found it emotionally draining, to say the least, what to do with this forgotten school project as well as the others that her mom kept after all these years.
 

Entry filed under: Blogroll, Daily Post, friday fictioneers. Tags: , , .

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56 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Russell Gayer  |  January 9, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I remember cleaning out my parents house after they died. It was emotionally draining–many tears. I can certainly sympathize with Ellen.

    Reply
    • 2. plaridel  |  January 9, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      russell:

      when an elderly neighbor living alone passed away, the eldest daughter sold the house right away. it made me sad to see a lifetime of memories stored in a hauling truck.

      Reply
  • 3. Susan A Eames  |  January 9, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    She should keep it! Nicely done, plaridel.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Reply
    • 4. plaridel  |  January 9, 2019 at 3:06 pm

      susan:

      i agree. she probably should.

      Reply
  • 5. michael1148humphris  |  January 9, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    A fine story that made me think, thank you

    Reply
    • 6. plaridel  |  January 9, 2019 at 3:06 pm

      michael:

      i’m glad you liked it. thank you for reading.

      Reply
  • 7. Piyali  |  January 10, 2019 at 1:56 am

    My parents are like Ellen’s mother. They’ve fondly kept everything from my childhood to this date. An emotionally touching story!

    Reply
    • 8. plaridel  |  January 10, 2019 at 8:47 am

      piyali:

      bless your parents. and when it’s your turn to be a parent, you’ll probably do the same. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      • 9. Piyali  |  January 10, 2019 at 9:29 am

        Doing that already. Collecting almost every special thing that my son makes in school. 😊

        Reply
        • 10. plaridel  |  January 11, 2019 at 8:33 am

          piyali:

          i’m sure he’ll appreciate it someday.

          Reply
  • 11. Sandra  |  January 10, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Yes it can be disturbing to discover the little pieces of memorabilia that have meant so much to our parents. Like a whole new world in some cases.

    Reply
    • 12. plaridel  |  January 10, 2019 at 8:47 am

      sandra:

      i guess it’s their way of holding on to their kids for as long as they could.

      Reply
  • 13. Keith's Ramblings  |  January 10, 2019 at 3:55 am

    At least, keep that. Excellent plaridel.

    Click to read my FriFic tale!

    Reply
    • 14. plaridel  |  January 10, 2019 at 8:46 am

      keith:

      that’s a great suggestion. hopefully, she can hear you.

      Reply
  • 15. draliman  |  January 10, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Sweet that she kept her kids’ school triumphs.

    Reply
    • 16. plaridel  |  January 10, 2019 at 8:46 am

      draliman:

      i believe most mothers will do. their kids’ success is their success too.

      Reply
  • 17. Clare Hempstead  |  January 10, 2019 at 6:27 am

    I’ve recently been clearing out my mum’s home, so this struck a chord with me. I cannot believe some of the things she kept!

    Reply
    • 18. plaridel  |  January 10, 2019 at 8:45 am

      clare:

      it could really be an eye-opener.

      Reply
  • 19. Mrs Marian Green  |  January 10, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Mums do that don’t they?

    gramswisewords.blogspot.com

    Reply
    • 20. plaridel  |  January 10, 2019 at 8:45 am

      marian:

      absolutely, they do.

      Reply
  • 21. Brenda's Thoughts  |  January 10, 2019 at 10:27 am

    A moving story. So sad for her. If she has room, she should keep it, at least until the grief of loss has passed. You’re right, these sort of decisions are unenviable.

    Reply
    • 22. plaridel  |  January 11, 2019 at 8:32 am

      brenda:

      under the circumstances, i think that’s the best thing to do.

      Reply
  • 23. theministryofshrawleywalks  |  January 10, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Makes me wonder what happened to all my school projects! Thoughtful stuff

    Reply
    • 24. plaridel  |  January 11, 2019 at 8:32 am

      shrawley:

      i’m sure some of them are hidden somewhere in your parents’ house.

      Reply
      • 25. theministryofshrawleywalks  |  January 11, 2019 at 10:39 am

        I’d hope so, but I very much doubt it, they used to have regular purges when I was away at school, so i’d come back to a set of shelves empty of National Gets where there used to be loads of old ones.

        Reply
        • 26. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:53 am

          shrawley:

          if anything, empty shelves are there to make room for new stuff. πŸ™‚

          Reply
  • 27. rochellewisoff  |  January 11, 2019 at 3:16 am

    Dear Plaridel,

    I’ve been in Ellen’s position. You captured the moment well.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Reply
    • 28. plaridel  |  January 11, 2019 at 8:32 am

      rochelle:

      thank you for the kind comment. much appreciated.

      Reply
  • 29. subroto  |  January 11, 2019 at 5:47 am

    A lifetime of memories to sift through. It will be a bitter-sweet experience for sure.

    Reply
    • 30. plaridel  |  January 11, 2019 at 8:32 am

      subroto:

      i totally agree.

      Reply
  • 31. Alicia Jamtaas  |  January 11, 2019 at 10:54 am

    My mom threw away tons of things (really small things but meaningful to me) when I left home for college. On the other hand, after she and Dad died there was very little to deal with. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

    Reply
    • 32. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:52 am

      alicia:

      your mom and dad did the right thing.

      Reply
  • 33. lisarey1990  |  January 11, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    There is such a sadness in this piece. Wonderfully crafted.

    Reply
    • 34. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:52 am

      lisa:

      thank you for reading as usual. much appreciated.

      Reply
  • 35. 4963andypop  |  January 11, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    I get the feeling that clearing the house is not doing what she pleases.

    Reply
    • 36. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:52 am

      andrea:

      i guess it speaks for the rest of us.

      Reply
  • 37. StuHN  |  January 11, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    I hated cleaning out the place when my mother passed. Dad had been gone ten years already. The stuff I found was eyeopening.

    Reply
    • 38. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:52 am

      stuart:

      i understand it’s gonna be tough but somebody has to do it.

      Reply
  • 39. Margaret  |  January 11, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Good title for this piece. It’s a horrible task. Moving my mother from her home into a retirement unit taught me a lesson. I’ve got keepsakes from my kids’ childhoods too, but I now try really hard to have them all organised and under control. You capture the dilemma very well. And the unhelpful brother is a very realistic touch.

    Reply
    • 40. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:51 am

      margaret:

      starting to get organized early is a wonderful idea.

      Reply
  • 41. Violet Lentz  |  January 12, 2019 at 5:12 am

    A moment in time I think everyone dreads. Very well written.

    Reply
    • 42. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:50 am

      violet:

      i appreciate your comment very much. thank you.

      Reply
  • 43. Dale  |  January 12, 2019 at 7:25 am

    You have depicted this most unenviable task very well, Plaridel.

    Reply
    • 44. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:49 am

      dale:

      you’re very kind. thank you.

      Reply
  • 45. Liz Young  |  January 12, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Not easy, is it – especially when other family member who should help can’t be bothered.

    Reply
    • 46. plaridel  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:49 am

      liz:

      i suppose it’s not easy to dispose a lifetime of memories.

      Reply
  • 47. gahlearner  |  January 12, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Like many others, I’ve been there, too. In the end someone has to throw it all away. It’s hard. I kept far too much stuff in addition to my own ‘collections’.

    Reply
    • 48. plaridel  |  January 15, 2019 at 9:45 am

      gahlearner:

      it’ll help when we realize most of the things we keep are only of interest to us. they lose their meanings when we pass.

      Reply
  • 49. Inside the Mind of Isadora  |  January 13, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Interesting take on the photo prompt, Plaridel.
    I don’t save anything. It’s hard for me to understand when people do.
    Nicely done …
    Isadora 😎

    Reply
  • 50. Dawn M. Miller  |  January 14, 2019 at 5:54 am

    I’ve often thought what would happen to all my things. I hate to leave my children with this task.

    Reply
    • 51. plaridel  |  January 15, 2019 at 9:45 am

      isadora:

      bless your heart. you’re an exception to the rule. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • 52. plaridel  |  January 15, 2019 at 9:47 am

      dawn:

      my best guess is items of value would be auctioned off at ebay or donated to charity.

      Reply
  • 53. michaelwynnauthor  |  January 15, 2019 at 7:59 am

    I know how she feels. I’m clearing my Mum’s house at the moment and the hardest things to place are the homemade and personal

    Reply
    • 54. plaridel  |  January 15, 2019 at 9:44 am

      mick:

      i don’t envy you at all. i wish you luck.

      Reply
  • 55. Sascha Darlington  |  January 15, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Funny how sometimes the projects mean more to the parent than the creator. Good story!

    Reply
    • 56. plaridel  |  January 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm

      sascha:

      that’s so true indeed. πŸ™‚

      Reply

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