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After the memorial service I spent the next week sorting through our mom’s stuff to prepare for the estate sale. She wasn’t a collector – other than photos and mementos – and the house was small. Whew!

As I arranged and dusted, and wrote prices on labels and sticky notes, I couldn’t help but think of all my stuff. I am a collector. And my house is twice the size. Not including the attic.

Hmm… I’ve got some down-sizing to do when I get home.

I Googled estate sale pricing, record albums on eBay, used appliances, Thomas Kincade prints, and checked Etsy for vintage tablecloths and glassware. Tried to mark things fairly, and resisted the urge to pack more of her stuff into the closet for me to take home. I already had quite a stash.

Do I need another ceramic Christmas tree?

But she made it and painted it with her own hands.

$10 I wrote.

We sold it for $4.

I wanted to chase after the buyer, to convince him it was worth a hundred times that. You don’t understand! She won’t be making ceramic trees or baby blankets and wrapping them up in Christmas paper to give to her family ever again!

Most of the big items sold, and a few of the non-essentials.

After the estate sale the next several days were spent searching for boxes to put the leftover stuff in, and packing it all inside, for St. Somebody’s truck driver to pick up as donations.

Random tears would pour for no reason and without warning. Mostly from remembering. But I wiped my eyes and kept working.

I had already toted six large trash bags full of her clothes and shoes to a Goodwill store. But I saved her designer-label pieces to sell at a consignment shop.

Nothing. They couldn’t use even one item.

I donated those to charity, too.

And on the way home fresh tears streamed.

I would never see her petite frame in those jackets or sweaters or Nine West pumps again.

Evening traffic thickened as I drove east, back to her house. My errands for the day were done, and it was time for dinner. And a good long cry, I figured.

But as I made the turns into her neighborhood toward her street, my direction changed. And in the western sky – that had been behind me the entire time – I was greeted with the most gorgeous sunset! Fiery orange and red and peachy-pink spread across nature’s canvas in a divine masterpiece.

God lifted my chin, and whispered Heaven.

My tears stopped.