It was as I tore into the third donation bag that I found him: grubby, slightly sticky and with – yep – remnants of old flour still inside his little body.
I wondered whether I should sling the little Homepride flour ‘Fred’ straight into the bin.
But I took him up to the little kitchen and filled the sink with soapy water: the little fella badly needed a bath.
Sometimes my voluntary job at the Hospice charity shop makes me feel a little emotional.
As my mum spent her last few days at a beautiful Hospice, it’s always been a cause that’s close to my heart.
And very often, I find myself opening bags that are clearly a lost loved one’s final possessions: cardigans, nightgowns, purses, photo frames, teddies and sometimes the odd bundle of unused greetings cards.
I try to handle each item with respect; it feels like it matters.
Of course, life is a circle and there’s no fear, for heaven awaits.
But I do sometimes wonder which final possessions will make it into my care home (“What are all these scruffy little books? There’s case loads of them.”)
But to me there’s something beautiful in seeing donated items continue their journey.
It felt good to buy the sun-starved spider plant and nurse it back to health.
And it made me happy to wash a particularly pretty rose-sprigged flannelette nightie and turn it into a cushion cover.
And the little Homepride Fred? Well, no sooner had I returned to my donation sorting in the basement, than my colleague shouted down to me,
“Suse? Your little man’s already sold!”
A grubby, sticky little thing, scrubbed up and made new: I liked the idea of him sitting on a new windowsill and making a different family smile.
There’s something redemptive in there, for sure.