Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Too Much Money, or Fear of Death?

I have noticed a very strange thing concerning the possessions of my partner who passed away in Feb. People seem freaked out by my use of anything she left behind.

The death of my friend and partner was caused by hypothermia. There was no skin or any other condition which would contaminate soap, lotion, her mattress, etc. But No One will accept her Perfectly clean mattress and box springs, although they are made to fit an antique custom made bed created by her grandfather.

Similarly, people seem to think I'll catch My death from using her soap, clean socks and sleep shirts, lotion, or remaining toothpaste. (Of course, I threw away her tooth brush.) As I couldn't pay the rent and have had to move to a smaller home, these things my partner left behind are Gifts to me, which will save me a lot of money in the long run.

When my partner first came to live with me she asked how Anyone could Survive on the $600 per month she received. She had always worked low wage jobs, (waitress, motel maid, etc.) I didn't know how to explain it because I have always lived in a particular way. But gradually, she got it.

When a bar of soap is almost gone, stick it on Another bar of soap. Use All of the toilet paper on each roll. Chop as much of a tender broccoli stalk as you can into a salad. Tougher veggie. Stalks can either make compost for the garden or be frozen, then broken up into stews or soups cooked in a slow cooker. You can Mostly cover up the taste of foods you don't like, (stalks from greens) with a careful use of spices. Rags go through a cyclical existence: clothing, doll clothes or scrub rags or kitchen towels, scrub rags, tomato ties, disintegration.

Unfortunately, clothing which is imported is now cheaper than home made clothes. But Mending and patching are Very useful skills. Re-use fabric softener sheets or skip them if it makes no difference whether a garment is Softened or not. Use cloth napkins which can be tossed in the was and cleaning rags to wipe up spills, instead of paper towels.

In the old days it was like this. I'm Not suggesting going back to once a week baths, scrubbing clothes on a wash board, or hanging them out on a line in the freezing wind. I can do and have done these things and do not miss Any of them.

After my grandmother died and was buried, relatives went to her government subsidized home and divided up her possessions. I asked for any left over food which was still good. We found spices, bags of rice, and some commodity cheese in the freezer. Each time I ate something she had Given me I said Thank You to my grandmother and felt close to her.

I also needed a mattress, as the springs in mine were poking holes through the surface fabric. As no one else wanted my grandmother's guest room bed and dresser, I was given this also. I am still using the dresser and have passed on the bed frame to someone who needs it.

Is it that most people have so much money that they can afford to throw away the ordinary life sustaining gifts of their loved ones and/or relations, after those people have died?

Or is it a fear of death? When I use something my partner once used, (a pan, soap, or her blanket) I feel close to her and thank her for gifting my life with these useful things.

Everybody's heard of the "Give Away" or "Potlatch" after the death of someone. But except for donating clothing to a charity, no one seems to use those things closest to the person who has died, even if they Can use them. I donated all but a few pieces of my partner's clothing, her dishes, her orthopedic shooes, and her Unopened tooth paste and Soaps. She lived her life in a loving way and I know her wish was to help others. Almost Everything she had has been given to some person or some agency which uses that item/s.

But I Kept items which were partially used and expensive, bottles of shampoo and conditioner, her bed coverings, etc. As I find out what I Truly Do use there will probably be more items to donate.

It takes work and time to find the right agency for the right item. But I am Horrified sometimes by the amount of possessions including clothing and canned and other preserved foods which are just Dumped

I am not a hoarder, but why not Use Up those things left to me which no one else wants?

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