Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Spring Into Spring


By Marchia Droll-Durian

As we have made it through a horrible winter filled with too many missed school days to count and feeling like prisoners in our own homes, the thought of brighter and warmer days gives us a new sense of cheer and puts a spring in our step!

Of course, spring also makes us think (or at least some of us) of spring cleaning and airing out the stale air of a closed-up house from the long, cold winter. Outside of the overall cleaning of the windows, walls, air vents, etc., have you thought about spring cleaning with your seniors? Not just the house, but starting to go through some of their treasures with them to enjoy the stories and learn more about the things that are stored away and may be of significant importance to your loved one from throughout their life.

After a loved one is gone, we are often left making a transitional move, which may not allow the time to go through their belongings with care. Many can be thrown out or given away to a thrift store without knowing how special a meaningful an item may have been to your loved one. I once came across a religious picture at a Goodwill that now hangs on a wall overlooking my living room. Someone had written on the back that this picture of the Sacred Heart must never be sold or given away, as it had been blessed at the person’s house by a priest. A note next to it held the name of the next generation, saying this person was her mother, please don’t sell the picture, and that it should always be kept in family. I didn’t know this family, but I felt compelled to buy this picture and give it a new, loving home where I would ensure that it would be treasured and kept by generations of my own family.

Tucked away with all of those treasures could be the gown that was worn by your great-grandmother after birth, which may look beautiful hanging on a wall or donned by a new baby in the family for a special picture, and then passed down the generations. A crystal cake stand sits in my antique cupboard that was given to my great aunt on her wedding day. She was the only sister of my maternal grandfather, and it meant so much to me to have that piece of her history and my family’s history displayed in my home. I also think of the time after my husband’s mother passed and the months that were spent after she died going through the farmhouse and deciding what to keep and what to sell. My husband found a set of four glasses that had pictures of characters on one side and notes to songs such as My Old Kentucky Home and Daisy Bell on the other side. He has those glasses in our home now, and he had the fondest memories of looking at them and reading the songs as a child. I only wish his mom would have been there to share even more stories about some of her special treasures with the seven surviving children. I know it would have made these special things mean so much more. Maybe your senior has hidden a special letter or handwritten recipe card that could be matted in a frame and hung in your home or given to a great granddaughter as a wedding shower gift from her great grandmother. This can be a very loving and beautiful gift that is unique and cannot be bought in a store!  
So many things can be passed down, and there is beauty in the time you can spend with your loved one hearing the stories behind the items when you spring clean with them. I know we cannot keep everything, but some very special treasures may be missed if you don’t take the precious time while you have it!  

LivWell Seniors serves as a local agency providing community-based resources that are 100-percent free to seniors and their families. They are funded by the senior care providers that utilize their service and network of connections. For further information, contact us at
563-265-1577, or visit our website at www.livwellseniors.com.

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