I still don’t know how many more weeks or months to go until the Italian commune processes everything and I get that much awaited email saying that I can proceed towards requesting an Italian passport — what I can tell you is that the wait is excruciatingly long. It’s only been one month and a half out of a possible six month wait period (which itself was reduced from 700+ days according to the Consulate’s own ‘record time’ claims posted on their website).
Regardless of this dilated passage of time, and burned out as I am, I haven’t sat idly, and have kept myself busy working so I can save more money towards traveling out of the country, but at a personal level, I have begun to bring closure to certain affairs that, in all honesty, I should’ve done years ago. Once I board that plane with my brother there will be no turning back, and whatever I left pending or undone will remain pending and/or undone.
One such thing is the matter of my mother’s stuff: her clothes, remaining books, and certain items.
I kept saying that I’d do it ever since she passed in 2018, but I don’t know why, I don’t have any real explanation or justification as to why I simply opted to keep her stuff as-is all these years. I’ve mopped the floors, cleaned the dust here and there, and cleaned whenever rainstorm leaks through the rather unfinished and badly built roof of her room, but never did I touched on anything else beyond cleaning the area that had all of her meds, syringes, and all that post-chemo stuff she had to take.
Maybe it’s got to do with the fact that I still dream about her being healthy to this day. Sometimes it’s like she ‘came back’ from work or what have you, and my brain tries to conciliate some incongruencies between the scenario of the dream and the truth — no matter how hard I try, I end up waking up to the crushing reality. Maybe some small part of my brain still clings to the hope that all of this is a dream, and added to the fact that I still feel like I failed to save her, well…
Be that as it may, I had sorted out some of her stuff in the past, and had given away a handful of clothes. Some books, medical equipment, and her scrubs (some of which featured from Rugrats to Spongebob) were bought by a friend of hers back in 2019, beyond that, everything else remained there.
Certainly, some recent stuff involving my family pushed me towards finally doing it, but regardless, I have finally begun to sort the sheer bulk of her stuff, starting with her clothes. I gave my cousin first dibs on whatever she wanted out of my mom’s closet, and she took a fair share. Others I prepared in bags with the help of my aunt to give away — fast forward a few hours later, and my mother’s closet, which didn’t even had doors nor drawers, is almost empty, and now I have a rather absurd amount of plastic coat hangers that I don’t know what to do with.
The last batch of her remaining clothes in her closet is mostly reserved to someone who really needs them. I just have to arrange logistics with either her or her husband to see when either of them can come pick it up.
As for her doctor’s white coats, I don’t know yet, she had her name embroidered on all of them as is customary for doctors to do, so it’s not like I can automatically hand those over, but it’s not something that I can or will take with me, so there’s that.
When it comes to books, my intention is to give those away to any med students. Sure, I could make a quick buck here and there, and I could definitely use the money, but if I can help someone achieve their goal of becoming a doctor (or an anesthesiologist like my mom), then that’s worth more to me than money. That’s probably what I’ll do next once I get some boxes.
I went through a similar situation with her remaining chemotherapy when she passed, sure, I could’ve made a lot of money reselling those pills (thousands of $ even), but I did not because it was not the right thing to do, so I gave those away to someone who needed them for their cancer treatment.
There’s no jewelry to sell or give away, as my mom had already sold all of her stuff between 2016 and 2017, including her doctor’s graduation ring. We needed the money to pay for her chemotherapy and med expenses, as well as food.
“It’s not like I’m gonna need these if I don’t make it out of this,” my mom once said to me.
There is one thing that perhaps is the most valuable, a handful of photo albums and a decent amount of pictures that I have gathered. Once I’m more caught up with some projects (as well as getting Sword edited and I make more progress towards writing Sins’ first draft) I will start scanning these and upload them somewhere.
It’s the only pictures remaining of simpler, better times of us living in Maracaibo, While my dad kept most of our photos from before 1996, there’s a few of older ones here and there among the pile.
I’ve also backed up the contents of her laptop’s hard drives in search of more pictures of her. I even found some of mine from 2009 — I kinda haven’t changed much, you can see a depressed fat ~20 year old in those pictures, the only difference today is that I’m 34 and have less hair, that’s all. I wiped one of the laptops, slapped a lightweight Linux distro on it, and it is now in the hands of my Godson, who is using it for e-learning. The other one has problems with the keyboard, I’ll see what I can do with it later on (it’s a very old one from the mid 00s).
The pictures are of great importance to me because it’s how I’d want to remember my mom, healthy, working, and smiling, unlike the final days of her life. Obviously, I can’t bring all of them with me, hence why I’ll scan them. There’s perhaps 5 or so pictures that I’ll take with me physically, including one of my mom, a portrait of my grandmother, and the oldest picture I have of my brother with me when he was a baby.
There is the matter of figuring out what to do with 16+ years worth of class materials, both physical and digital. The only person that ever asked for those was someone that said ‘why bother with [some request from my mom], she’s gonna die soon anyways,’ so you can imagine why I did not give her shit.
Beyond that there is not much left of her beyond a bed that my brother did not wanted (nor I can fit in my small bedroom), a nearly 25 year old hairdresser, some memorabilia from her medical conferences abroad, and an old dusty teddy bear that I got her (with her own money) when I was 14. I put her music CDs in a box a while ago, and her sewing kits and all that is now in the hands of my young cousin.
There’s a pile of CT scans, lab tests, and stuff like that. There’s also a boatload of work-related papers and records archived on a wooden closet that I don’t even want to begin sorting/discarding.
All of this perhaps won’t alleviate the mental scarring and burdens I’ve not addressed throughout the years, but it’s better to know that her stuff will find some use rather than remain collecting dust in her room once we’re gone from the country. Baby steps towards finding proper closure in my life as I move towards a new one.
Until the next one,