Later today or tomorrow morning, depending on the weather, I will begin my trek to New Port Richey, Florida, to clear out my father's apartment there. This trip is very bitter sweet for me as it marks the end of era for my family. For about 30 years my father, and my mother, (before she died), spent half of the year in Florida and half in Canada. From the reports I am getting from Canada, my father will not be visiting Florida again as his physical condition has not materially improved, and his mental condition continues to deteriorate, since his stroke back in August.
Many of our family heirlooms are in Florida and it will be my job, and my brothers when they get there, to weed out what needs to be kept and what needs to be tossed/donated/given away.
There are a couple of weird little chairs that have seats upholstered with needlepoint, the backgrounds worked by my grandmother. And the silver tea set that I only remember being used once but is quite lovely. Then there are the soup tureens and crystal that my father collected that do not fit into the lifestyles of this generation. And there are the shoe boxes full of undocumented photographs and the bookcases full of books that will need to sorted. What about the tea cup collection, the battered 78's or the evening gowns my mother wore on the cruises they took together? All will need to be evaluated and disposed of in some manner.
Although I have known for a few years that I would need to do this, I hate it. I feel like I am wiping out part of my father's life and, at the same time, closing out a chapter of my own. To add insult to injury, I will need to travel to Canada after I return to Texas to officially be told the dismal prognosis for his future health and, probably, begin the process to have him transferred to a long term care facility. I know it has to be done but I hate it, hate it, hate it.