Letting go

by cheri block

In the sweltering garage, two piles of stuff wait for guidance.

In the air-conditioned tired patio home, a little old woman waits for the same.

A grandson and son walk back and forth, carrying boxes, trinkets, vases, art work, and expired cans of food.

The piles expand.

The tears, like intermittent rain, come down at curious intervals.

The real estate agent arrives with paperwork.

I call Tony’s Moving Company and talk to Bruce.

The walker doesn’t know which way to go in this dreadful fusion of past and present.

One pile finds relief at the local dump.

The other survives death, on its way to the local Good Will station wherein, perhaps, parts of its body will make their way into another’s life, like a transplant.

I remember Dad and trust that wherever his energy is, he would approve.

Mother bravely says, “Change is good.”

I am inspired, once again.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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32 Responses to Letting go

  1. Jeanie says:

    This was so poignant Cheri. It touched me very much. Your writings are so full of imagery.

  2. Janet Joson Block says:

    A tender and poignant observation of a heartbreaking experience. In just a few lines, you moved me to tears. Bravo Cheri!

  3. Laura Sabraw says:

    Cheri, you have a way with words. You moved me to tears, too. Your mom is a strong woman. Change is good for us, but it is also difficult. (I love the photo.)

  4. Sablock says:

    Sometimes we are forced to let go. In these circumstances, it’s the nature of the response that’s important.

    Here , mom’s response has been inspirational. I am thankful for that.

    • Cheri says:

      Nice words from your own hospital bed. Our thoughts are with you, buster. Glad to know that you are coherent and wise. Now you need to buckle down and expel all bacteria from your body.

      By orders of your bossy older sister.

  5. Phil says:

    Mother bravely says, “Change is good.”

    This shows her indomitable spirit.

  6. My wife moved her mother 4 times before the ultimate move. Each time something had to be done away with. My mother-in-law never complained, just, the first three times, directing traffic. The fourth time she was too sick to say anything and when she got well despite all prognosis, all she said was:”you have done for the best”.
    That generation was made of steel.

  7. Aunty Cheri,

    Beautifully described; the emotion is so palpable.
    Love, Gabriel

    • Cheri says:

      Thanks my awesome nephew with the big vocabulary. Keep writing! At your age, write as much as you can. Then marinate it. Edit it.

      Step back and read it to your mom.

  8. Richard says:

    When my wife was moving one of her much-loved great aunts, someone said, ” Let’s all sit down and have a think.”

    “What a good idea,” said Aunty Millie, taking up the challenge, “let’s all sit down and have a drink.”

    • Cheri says:

      Hey Richard, trying to get a word in edgewise when the Block family starts weighing in takes elbows and shoves…

      I’m having a beer right now. Approve?

      • Cheri says:

        Yes. A steely generation for sure. What about us baby-boomers? What metal will describe us?

        Maybe an alloy or not a metal at all.

      • Cheri says:

        Oh come on Richard, you are a part of the family by now…have a beer, let your hair down, and share what you are really feeling. (The Block Side)

        Oh come on Richard, you are a part of the family now. Have a beer, keep a stiff upper lip, and express homilies and adages about courage and pluck. Come on…(Be a part of the Sabraw family)

    • Richard says:

      I am honoured and unworthy … Ma.

      Best to Joan and Steve.

  9. Jimmie Block says:

    To my Sister: It was heartbreaking at times yesterday. Watching mom go through things. Particularly the many, many pictures. I asked mom why exactly she was crying at times while looking at them. Her response, “because time has passed so quickly.” Exactly what I was thinking while looking at them. Your story was beautifully written, as usual. Thank you!

    • Cheri says:

      And we should all take note at that statement and go out and live life now, instead of talking about it. Just as you are doing, climbing every tall mountain in California, Oregon, and Washington.

      And, younger baby brother, I will add that since we slept in the same bedroom in those crappy twin beds on Thursday night, you are looking mighty fit for 50.

      How’d I look in my skivvies?

  10. ines mangiola says:

    Your mother is an inspiration, not just to your family,but to all of us! We can only marvel at the power of her spirit!!

    • Cheri says:

      And you have a mother just like Joan.
      Aren’t we fortunate my Brazilian soulmate?

      ( and one who listens to my deepest confessions…shhhhh….don’t tell, Ines…)

  11. Beautiful–every line conjures up a multitude of images. In so much of your writing that I’ve seen you do wonderful things with dualities and contrasts. This one is no exception and the way you manage all the tensions is fantastic.

  12. Cheri says:

    Dearest Thomas,
    Thank you for your literary observation. It’s nice to have a real critic who can tell me what is working and what is not.
    In my real life, I don’t think I manage tensions very well…

  13. Jennifer says:

    My favorite post to date. I’ve been thinking of her a lot this week. Thank you for sharing this experience.

  14. jenny says:


    I have never understood how, at such searing moments, banalities like cans of expired food, Tony’s Moving Company and some guy named Bruce have the effrontery to appear.

    And, next, how do those same insensitive banalities manage to do us a service by tying us with a million prosaic threads to life?

    At least that’s how I’ve felt it, and felt it again when reading your words.

    • Cheri says:

      It’s a tug between the banalities and the sublime, the tangible old photograph and the mysterious personal projection, the crushing and the empowering.

  15. Sharon says:

    As a family friend who loves you, I marvel at your precious momma, who say’s “Change is good.” She is an inspiration; I’m glad you all could be there for her. When she gets here, we should ALL sit down and have a drink:-)
    Love you

  16. Jimmie Block says:

    BTW, you looked pretty damn good in those skivies. 60-the “new” 40 😉

  17. Cheri says:

    You are biased, but I’ll take what I can get…

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