Taking a trip down memory lane can be happy, bittersweet or pain in the posterior.

Have you looked around your home lately and wondered what your family’s expressions and comments would be when you move on to that parallel universe? Will there be a look of horror or just sadness on their faces? If we wish to be optimistic, perhaps they will be sad that you are gone, but horrified at what you left behind.

Can you see them digging through stacks of irrelevant paperwork grumbling or cussing before they find important documents? Funny how the absence of neatness and organization works. It is all a matter of perspective. For the most part, the “fruits of our looms” may be disorganized and messy, but when faced with the overwhelming tasks related to estate matters, they assume you should have been more organized than they are.

It is a chore to organize important documents, especially if they are mixed in with years of accumulated general clutter. The task may be daunting, but it will also be amusing with a sprinkling of nostalgia.

Our mother’s health was rapidly declining, my sister and I had to clear out some of the clutter in our parents’ home. Let us preface by acknowledging that some people like to hold on to everything, except used toilet tissue. If you add to the mix the person’s love of bargains and sales, the result is mountains of stuff.

We filled between fifty or more trash bags with partially completed craft projects, bags of embroidery floss so old that many of the skeins were faded and fell apart at the slightest touch. Can you imagine the pain and possible frustration and anger we would have felt going through all that clutter and hoarded stuff after she was gone?

But we were fortunate to complete the clearing project while our mother was still alive. Instead of tears and sorrow, there were tears of laughter during the entire process. Although, we cannot deny there were moments we experienced a few tears of frustration at some of the stuff we found.

Perhaps a lesson was learned that long ago time. Recently, Hubby and I decided to tackle piles of documents accumulated during the past fifty years. My family escaped from Hungary when the Russians invaded in World War II. The life of what was known as Displaced Persons (refugees) included staying in camps where privacy and comfort were non-existent. We carried DP Identification Cards, Immunization Documentation, and sundry other necessary documents. Eventually, we came to America.

We kept some of the old documents. It was impossible not to laugh when we came across my World War II DP camp identification cards as well as health and immunization cards for my college days at the University of Oklahoma.

Also in the files to be excavated we found papers to vehicles we have replaced long ago. We also found a handful of credit cards so old that they turned brittle to the touch. Of course, the first gas credit cards we had when we were newlyweds, we kept for sentimental reasons. The kids will have to deal with a few other keepsakes, but they are neatly labeled and organized.

When we found our Marriage License, I suggested to Hubby that we frame it and hang it over our bed to prove we were legal. Hubby just chuckled and tucked the license back in the envelope.

Hubby came across a voter registration card from the early days of our marriage. That poor card was faded and barely decipherable. It went into the growing to-be-shredded pile. Our handy dandy shredder will earn its keep after tearing through years of outdated paperwork. Perhaps there should be a glass of wine nearby during the shredding process. Oh, the wine is not for the hardworking shredder, but rather for the one feeding the shredder. It is important to keep up our strength during such arduous tasks.

One feels such a sense of accomplishment after completing a dreaded task. The best part is that one day in the future we will not hear the gnashing of teeth and wails of frustration across the universes from our overwhelmed urchins.

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