Monday, June 1, 2009

Love is everywhere.

Years ago, I went with a friend to her cousin's estate sale. I was in the bedroom, looking at belongings. A little girl came in and went over to one of the women with whom she had come. She was holding up a beaded necklace, which she clearly had decided she wanted to take, but said as a question, "So and so says this is just junk". The woman took her onto her lap and said quietly, "It is not junk. It is a memory."

I'll never forget that, and it's always helped me rationalize my pack-rat inclinations. Because I am a sentimentalist. I find there is a story that accompanies just about everything. Alan was always anxious to clear stuff out, get rid of old items that were just accumulating dust, yet he too, held on to many trinkets and toys and photos - all memories. And I still find myself surrounded by many of his possessions and I'm not sure when they'll be relocated. On a widows website one woman was wondering what she should do with her husbands underwear. For many that sounds absurd, but I could relate all too well to her quandary. I found (and continue to find) that even the seemingly mundane articles from Alan's life (that he would have been so bothered to hear I had held on to), were beyond difficult to dispose of. In fact thus far, the only way I have been able to eliminate, store or pass on any of his belongings has been by doing the same with some of my things. Hence, anything of Alan's that has been packed away for safe-keeping, has been nested among items of my own. If clothes were set aside for Goodwill, I contributed to the pile as well. In essence I couldn't and cannot let go of his belongings without them being accompanied by something of mine. It's a way of continuing our journey together. If some of Alan goes, parts of me go with him. I don't want him ever to be alone. So much still rests where it has always been, unmoved by me. Not untouched, or unsmelled but still left in it's "place". Because with everything there is a memory. With the items of a coat pocket I can reconstruct a cold winter evening. A matchbook - a dinner at the bar of one of our favorite restaurants, a plastic figurine was an early dating memento, a candy wrapper was his breath, a pill - part of a regimen, a book - a love, a passion, a pursuit, something that had been held by his hands. A grocery store receipt - his special recipe with our favorite dessert, a leash, a connection for him to the dog he had cherished. And so on. The only way I am able to separate myself from anything is because I can hear Alan dismissing the item without a care or story attached. And if his spirit has given me permission, then I can physically and emotionally let that something go. And when I can, I have to do it quickly and efficiently, without lingering on how it was a part of Alan's life. The obsession can make you crazy.
I remember when the house that I grew up in was lost in a fire, we lost so many personal belongings. Yet it was such a freeing experience because my parents had escaped, alive - and that truly was all that mattered. Everything else paled in comparison. I just didn't care deeply about anything lost. Yet now that Alan's passed on, I cannot bear to part with his belongings. I know that I have everything I need in my heart and in my mind - but the belongings keep him close and fresh as though he was just here. And he was just here. On the widows website, the board I follow is the "6-12 Months. Reality sets in". section. Perhaps it's all just too soon for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments - Unpublished.