You can’t take it with you.

He who dies with the most toys still dies.  And you can't take the toys with you to wherever it is you might go when you die, so what's the point of getting attached to things?

Our dining room table.  This used to be my grandparents' table.
Our dining room table. This used to be my grandparents' table.

I'm guessing this table is at least as old as I am, and probably older than that.  It was gifted to us after both of my grandparents passed away, and we've been using it every day ever since then.

Sometimes accidents happen and our things get damaged:

Oops. Now I know why mom and dad always told me to wipe up my spills.
Oops. Now I know why mom and dad always told me to wipe up my spills.

This just happened a few days ago.  I didn't notice it until yesterday.  Somehow, water leaked on it and sat for long enough to warp the wood.  It was an accident.  It was just an accident.

I was upset for a couple of minutes about it, because the table was my grandparents' and has sentimental value for that reason alone.  But you know what?  The table is still functional, still beautiful, and still has sentimental value.  It will always be the same table I ate at at my grandpa and grandma Tredway's house when I was a little girl.  It will always be the same table my little boy ate at for meals as he grew up.

If one of us had done this while my grandma Frances was still alive and her table had gotten warped, you know what she would have said?   "Oh, that's alright.  It was just an accident.  I love you, pumpkin (or buddy).  Why don't you go get a cookie?"

So this morning, when Jeff discovered this accident and was upset about it, I put my arms around him and said, "It's OK.  It was just an accident.  It's just a table.  I'm not upset about it, so you don't need to be either."

Because at the end of our lives, it doesn't matter what we bought or sold.  We can't take the stuff with us, and truthfully, it's not really that important while we're alive.  Things make our lives easier and more comfortable.

But the important thing about stuff is the memories we attach to it.  Like sharing birthdays with my brother and cousins around this table.  Like sharing birthdays with our son, parents,  nieces and nephews around this table.  Those memories are about the people and relationships we had with them.  This table isn't just a table; it's a sign of all the love my family has shared and continues to share as we eat meals together around this table.

That's what we take with us when we die.  That's what we really pass on to our families.  Not the stuff.  The memories.

I'm not saying that it's ok to trash your things.  We should take care of the gifts we are given out of respect for the giver and because it's the right thing to do.  Just don't get attached to your possessions, because you can't take them with you.

 

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