Life, as I see it: It’s a sign


I’m still sorting and prepping for the movers. Along with the task comes a flood of emotion.  In what will be the final move for us, we have decided to downsize considerably.

Don’t think I didn’t see the irony of it all this week as I sat sorting, tossing and shredding all the while watching a program about being buried alive by hording.

I know we aren’t as bad as those poor souls on the program who cannot part with anything, but we have both done our share of hanging on to memories.

I’ve toughened up this week, and moved on to discard or decide to sell things I’ve held onto for years. I mean years! Maybe it’s a sign to just let go.

My husband Tom will join me here next week. Tom is a neat, likes stuff organized kind of guy. I’m hoping he can see the method of organization I have going on here. When the movers arrive they like things to be out of cupboards and readily available to wrap and pack in boxes. That’s what I’ve been working on. To some folks it may look like a disaster has occurred in this house. It’ll be fine.

I’ve eased into the conversation of there will not be any extensive cooking while he’s here. Takeout, microwavable food, or going to restaurants is on our menu since the counters and the stove top are now home to the things to be packed. 

Anyone who has dined at my house knows, I really do love to cook, I do it well, and that I will make it up to him when we get back to North Dakota.

One day was spent going through photos. Not only did I find vintage photos of my ancestors, but there too were more recent (50 years) moments of my life captured there.

The photos are being kept. I’ll let my kids go through them, take what they want, and I will keep the rest.

I found photos of my younger self. To the untrained eye, it is hard to determine if it is me or my daughter, Tiffany. Bless her heart, she’s kind of stuck looking like old Ma.

I came across a photo of myself and my beloved cousin Tommy Joe Bowden. It was taken on a day we both knew it would be our last ever time together. Once I stopped crying, I thought about my last two weeks with him. He was ill and we knew he wouldn’t have many more months. I came to California to spend precious time with him. I am forever grateful for those days. We talked about everything. We shared secrets. We remembered times good and bad.

Tommy and I were more like brother and sister than cousins. Our mothers were sisters and our fathers were brothers which made us double cousins. He was older and bigger than me, so he was my forever protector. We had adventures together as kids and as young adults. 

Losing him was like losing a huge part of me. My heart was broken in pieces then and it is still shattered today.

For most of our lives, I always told him I loved him, to which he would always reply,“You just think you do.” But in those last days, his reply was always that he loved me too.

After finding the photo I posted it on social media. Then came the many comments from others who had known him. Nothing but good things was said about this dear sweet gentle spirit of a man. I was blessed indeed to have had him in my life.

Life is good today.

■ Contact Kathy Craigo-Harteis at or PO Box 838, Beach, ND 58621.