Traces of a Life

The first to go are the shoes.  You cling to everything else for a long time.  But as the years go by, and the moves are made and space becomes smaller, you let go of small things like clothes.  Pictures, awards, milestone markers, jewelry, her favorite books and the like are so much harder to part with, like I could remake with them the life that was once there.  Oh one hand it seems silly to cling to t-h-i-n-g-s, on the other hand there’s some comfort in touching them and remembering.

The reconstruction and refinishing of floors and plumbing is nearly finished after over two months of claims adjusters, mold specialists, carpenters, plumbers and floor finishers traipsing in and out because of a broken water valve leak while we were away at our last art show.  We’ve moved and moved once again all of our furniture, art and possessions ourselves to save on our $1000 deductible, as well as refurbishing our damaged vanity to make it better and more arty than the original custom made one.  Every closet in the house has been cleaned and re-organized, throwing away unused items.  It’s now down to the guest room, so-called Zelda’s Room for the artist-made soft sculpture Madame Zelda Zebra that reclines on her artist-made chaise, frowning down upon we brash humans that enter her space.

It’s in Zelda’s room that more of Debra’s mementos are kept in secret boxes, corners and drawers.  I still have her retainer for her teeth.  Why keep that?  I once bought her a little metal box on a trip to the races in Lexington and I keep her jewelry in it.  I still have her retainer for her teeth.  Why keep that?  Every time I open that little metal box, there it is right there beside her cross we gave her when she took her first holy communion and her ’87 pin for her 8th grade graduation, and the enamel earrings she picked out on our trip to New Orleans and…..

In the closet sits Garfield the Cat, what was her favorite stuffed animal because she so adored his cartoons.  He gathers dust.  How many times in the past 26 years have I picked him up and thought about pitching him, or giving him away…..and then he goes back up there to peer out at me every time I slide open that door.  He made it to the kitchen table this time on top of a pile of photos and mementos I’ll send to Mary for her to cling to.  She’s worse than I am about hanging onto things she’ll never use or look at again.  My guess is that he’ll go back on the shelf in the closet. I’ve pared down her things enough for now.  Letting go of some of the t-h-i-n-g-s that once belonged to a beloved child that has died, is a long and slow and healthy process in the acceptance that your life goes on.

2 Responses to “Traces of a Life”

  1. Patricia Hecker Says:

    Hugs and blessings Sharon.


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