The Karmic Challenge, Week 29: Your Life, Your Stuff?

THE CHALLENGE. A man (Captain Savage).  A woman (Rose). A quest. To earn enough karmic points by Christmas to be reincarnated as Something Nice.  Alternatively, it would be really good if MY kids could end up in the top 1% of anything (other than pains in the arse, which milestone I think they may have already achieved, at times).

If all your Stuff disappeared – yea, unto even the old love letters, stories you wrote on cafe napkins, and lockets of your favourite childhood dog’s hair – what would be left of you?

In the last week or two, I’ve been too busy to blog much (much to the relief of inboxes everywhere) partly because I’ve been helping to dismantle my mother’s life.  Every couple of weeks, family meetings have been held to decide what to do with this or that aspect of it – who wants her antique and beautiful (often hand-made by Dad) furniture, who wants her war-era love letters to my father and his to her, who wants her meticulously ironed, fragranced and folded linen, her clothes, her jewellery? Who wants the stuff that even she didn’t want very much, but just accumulated the way that everybody does?

This weekend we held a garage sale of the latter, before putting her last home on the market.  Setting out to best advantage, the brown leather chairs where we all used to sit and drink tea and watch BBC serials.  Tidying up the empty, flower-filled garden, with no mum to complain that she couldn’t water the azaleas properly these days!

I recently chatted on line to an anarcho-syndicalist, whatever that is, and because I’m just born contrary, I decided I really like my Stuff.  Owning it, that is.  How small and bare and lonely we are without it!  And yet, one day, my kids are going to send cardboard boxes full of unfinished stories and diaries about unsuccessful love affairs to the tip.  C’est la vie.

Anyway, to get to the point of this post, my karmic points this week come from insisting on taking the first three hours at the garage sale – meaning getting up at 6 to get across town at 7, set up, and start the whole slightly sad process rolling. I call that totally selfless (AND I don’t even get to keep the money!).

I also took Ms M to a film evening on Common Ground, a project that’s trying to get off the ground in Canberra to do with giving the homeless a nice place to live, onsite support services and help to move on and up.   I think I may donate.

From tomorrow, I’m homeschooling Ms M, who seems to have developed an anxiety disorder associated with going to school.  (Yeah right, I can hear you say – but really, vomiting before school out of pure tension isn’t normal).  Who knows, after a month of me, she may be begging to go back there! And finally, next week, a date for meeting my little girl from Barnardos Kids Friend program!

Karmically, none of this gets anywhere near Captain Savage’s recent efforts (although, CS, I AM trying to grow a moustache for Movember??).


  1. Sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, Rose…. At least everyone is ‘pulling their weight’.! In lots of families it becomes a ‘grab’ for bargains…
    Sorry ’bout your mum, Rose; it’s sad we have to go….
    Miss M’s vomiting is certainly not a good reflection on the school… It makes me wonder if she has some issues that may need to be sorted, else they ‘follow her’ (if you know what I mean).
    As far as ‘Movember’ is concerned; I gave up trying to grow one years ago. Seems hair just won’t grow on my upper lip… shame…! 😉

    1. Try growing a mo when you’re fifty, it’s much easier! And so rewarding! Yeah, Ms M does have a few issues – she’s going to group psych sessions, we hope it will help. That or increasing age!


  2. Great post. It made me think about my mum, who died earlier this year too. Since I am living half way around the globe I didn’t get to sift through her stuff. But I wondered what happened to this, that or the other thing of her. My siblings wanted to give me her golden wedding ring. I refused it, as she never got tired to tell us how much she suffered in her marriage, so why keeping a token of suffering. In the end they sent me my mother’s “red cross needle” from the second world war. I remember her being very proud of it, but looking at it I still can’t imagine the atrocities of the war she has been through. She never talked about it. Things are only meaningful to it’s original owner, they don’t bring the people back and they don’t make up for missed story telling.

    1. I suppose that’s right, things do lose their meaning. I somehow feel those things have mum in them, though – not the things that went at the garage sale, but the other things. Luckily the other siblings feel similarly, so most stuff she valued – they both valued – will stay in the family.


  3. That’s a difficult thing you’re doing. My husband and his siblings went through the same process with his parents’ belongings after they passed away (within a few months of each other) a couple years back. Since then, he and I have talked about thinning out our own belongings. It’s difficult to do when children still live at home, but we’re actively trying to avoid accumulating more stuff. Good luck finishing up with this heavy task.

    1. Actually I often wonder what it’d be like to live with very few things. Part of me likes the idea – though not parting with my scraps of writing. The other part likes all those things that have come from different people I’ve known etc.


      1. I used to go out with one – she told me on the first trip to the pictures. Sadly the relationship just fizzled out as she deconstructed Robocop from the feminist perspective. Wrong choice of film in hindsight.

  4. The time spent unravelling others lives. I have tried to like this an the last few posts but woulnd’t work. Just got sent back to the top of the page. Other blogs don’t seme to do this. FYI

  5. Annnd now I have to look up Anarcho-Syndicalists.
    Forcing me to educate myself has got to be worth a few karma points…

    Glad you and your family are able to go through sorting your Moms stuff without squabbling.

    1. I make it a rule never to fight with people close to me about money, it just isn’t worth it. So far, so good! Maybe when you see how good anarcho-syndicalism is, you’ll want to become one!


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