clearing out of my friend's unit yesterday. It was a depressing process.
I know we were fortunate in that she has accumulated very little. She has books but, at her request, I removed the highly academic titles and the rest fit into a small bookshelf. I made a list of the academic titles I thought she might want to keep and even that was short.
Apart from that there was really very little. Some old passports, some old travel documents. Some Chinese paper notes, a few coins from foreign places - no longer legal currency - and a map. Her university degrees and diplomas were all in a large, faded envelope.
I found her brown suede beret. She was wearing that the first time I met her more than forty years ago. There was a Chinese hat - with earflaps. She told me she had never worn it. The red one I knitted her was warmer but she gave that to a student when she left China.
There were two frogs carved from timber in a village in the highlands of PNG and an abacus given to her in China. There were photographs in an envelope - from friends after holidaying with them in Noumea.
In the tiny kitchen my sister cleared out an assortment of unmatched crockery and cutlery, an electric kettle which did not work, a toaster (which does work) and four mugs. There were saucepans which had never been used. She bought them when she came here but was never well enough to do any cooking. We have, at her request, passed on a small blender (unused) and an electric jug (used) to a young student from PNG. He also has the unused wool underlay for his bed and the quilt from the bed. They will be used. Other things will be used by other people.
My sister carefully packed two beautiful champagne flutes. We will take them to my friend because there is a small shelf for such things. She told us yesterday they belonged to her parents. Yes, worth keeping.
But much of the rest needs to go to other people who can use what is there.
And it makes me realise that we have far too much here. It would be good to dispose of it now and see other people use it. We don't need it.
I just wonder whether I will have the courage to part with it.