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Those Who Are Left Behind

Today, the task began of closing up my sister's apartment and deciding how to distribute her possessions. It's an especially weird time to do something like that, with it being spring and all, new life coming on trees, and baseball about to begin again.

My sister Ann and I had a complicated relationship, and in fact in recent years we'd become somewhat distant. And going through mundane things like books, papers, furniture, etc., I didn't really feel anything.

But then I found things like: my grandmother Rose's English china, which I ate from as a kid. And Rose's paintings, which she loved to do so much in her later years. And some photos. And then... notebooks and scrapbooks from Ann's school years, before she was hit with the bipolar disorder that ravaged her adult life.

And then I realized how sad it was that someone with such potential not only didn't use it, but is now gone. I'll save all her things; it'll be part of what I hope will someday be at least the beginnings of a family archive. Many of us whose families were recent (within the last 100 years) immigrants to this country don't have that sense of history of place, of belonging, of continuity, especially when your family came from Eastern Europe and all they wanted to do when they left was to leave everything behind.

100 years from now, I hope my descendants will have something they can look back on to have that sense of place and continuity.

I can see I've gotten far too philosophical here. Bring on the 2003 baseball season!