And, yes, it was cathartic - that is, if catharsis is the process of grief morphing into a feeling of resentment toward the dearly departed once the mourner realizes, with a sense of dawning horror, that 60 boxes is NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. 60 boxes is a JOKE.
I had a realtor stop by, approximately 24 hours into this process. Up until then, I was doing okay - focused on my progress, energetic, hydrated. And then, as I took her around the house, I snapped out of my illusions and saw the mess through her eyes - the accounting office with papers from 1978 on, the 2-car garage already full of boxes, the laundry room with I-don't-know what-all shoved into it. It was in this last room that she turned to me and said, in the tone of voice one would use to disabuse a small child of the notion that she can single-handedly dig all the way to China, "You know, there are people who can help you with this. They come with a big truck and take it all away."
Yeah, that would be nice, wouldn't it?
On the bright side, I dug up a photo album filled with pictures of my father as a boy and a young man. I had never seen any candid photos of him from that time in his life - I had assumed, in fact, that none existed. He looks so young, so happy, with his whole life spread out before him - it's a nice antidote to my memories of him from the past 4 months or so, when he was becoming feebler and more senile by the day. His physical and mental misery spanned maybe one year out of a total of 87 -- these photos remind me that that single year doesn't define his entire life.
Now to find those helpful people with the big truck...
[Boxes image: enviromom]