After 20 years of caring for her elderly parents, the author feels only frustration and resentment. Although her brothers have helped, they haven't been there for the day-to-day slog. Her father died a few years earlier with Alzheimer's disease and her mother has just quietly died a few weeks after Christmas. Plum's American mother and English father settled in Canada as a compromise after World War II and a few years in Asian countries. Like so many of their Depression-era peers, nothing was ever thrown away. The author thinks it will only take her 6 weeks to clean out a 23-room house that's been occupied since 1952. Instead she embarks on a 16-month journey that includes grief, discovering her parents as people, and coming to terms with her often rocky relationship with her mother.

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