Collene & Al on their HoneymoonGoing through your parents things after they have passed away, is one of the hardest and most time consuming things you will ever do. It is also one of the most rewarding. With the passing of our mother last month, my sisters and I now beginning the task of going through the treasures of their lifetime. Their house has been in our family for about 56 years, and in that time they gathered many things. Of course, like every long term household, there were things to be thrown away, but I think what really surprised us was that there were many things that we didn’t want to throw away. In reality, they really kept only the really good things…the treasures of a lifetime filled with love, laughter, and happiness.

There were treasures of our dad’s military days, including old newspapers from World War II, Dad’s soldier’s handbook, pilots manuals, and a training manual from his flight engineer training. There were baby clothes he had worn, as well as his Christian books. Treasures from their Silver and Gold Wedding Anniversaries, and souvenirs they had collected over the years. And there were pictures…lots and lots of pictures There were pictures from our childhood, pictures from his war years, pictures from Mom’s younger years, and Dad’s younger years…so many pictures. Of course, those will be scanned so that we can all have copies of them, and then we will divide them up. We didn’t even have much time to really look at them, but we could tell that they are treasures, because they are the stories of many lifetimes.

I don’t think that any of us could really fully comprehend all of what we had in front of us, but as time goes on, we will really realize what gifts we have been given. These were the things that our parents loved. They were the things that they searched for. Especially the souvenirs, because Mom and Dad loved to travel, and they loved to have mementos of those trips. They traveled to so many places. They truly, really lived, and the things Dad and Momthey kept were the things that reminded them of all the wonderful times they had on those trips…their treasured memories.

I’m sure that as time goes on, there will be many stories to tell about all they things they have done in their amazing lives, but that will be a story for another day. For now, the biggest story of the day is the discovery of these, the many treasures of two lives so very well lived. Nothing held them back. They did the things they wanted to do. In fact, it never occurred to them to think they could do anything they wanted to do. They just went out and did the things they wanted to do. They built a beautiful lifetime, and then left us the treasures of that lifetime.

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