Memories

It’s always tough emotionally packing up and moving. What follows? What stays? What gets donated? What gets trashed? What goes who?

I’ve been going through that process over the past couple of weeks and I was reminded, not once, but twice by my children I was approaching this latest move the wrong way.

Last week, for example, I spent the better part of a day taking down my wife’s Precious Moments collection, carefully packing each piece from its spot in the curio. Of course, I gave most of the collection to my wife over the years, so each piece reignited a memory … a time when she was still with me. It was the same rush in reverse from when I transplanted the collection from New York to Maine. The memories were the same, but while rebuilding the collection was a joy, dismantling it had a touch of sadness to it. I realized during the process this could be the last time I will ever see the collection shimmering in the sunlight.

I mentioned it in a message to my kids and Joe reminded me very pointedly, “It’s a blessing you have the memories.” Of course, he is right. I treasure those memories … but it still stings a bit.

Part of the process has also been packing up pictures, wall decor and other personal things. I had already decided I was making a minimal move — donating and giving most furniture and day-to-day items away. My personal items — except for clothes — fit in three large boxes. Personal memories of my time in Maine. Some books (I donated a bunch to the  library). Photos and wall hangings. As I unloaded them for storage at my son’s house in Massachusetts, I blithely remarked over coffee how discouraging it is to your life reduced to a few boxes. Scott quickly reprimanded me. “That’s not your life!” He’s was right. I amended my comment to add “tangible”.

My life is more than things. I know that. I’ve preached that through the years. But it still stings … and in all honesty, I never figured I would be the one going through my possessions.

It’s tough making these decisions that affect no one but yourself. Keep the aluminum plate of my final edition of the Reveille/Between the LakesKeep the assortment of ticket stubs and playbills collected through the years? Keep my early notes on the publishing process? Keep …? Those things have no worth to anyone but me.

Of course, the clean out hasn’t all been melancholic. I made some amazing discoveries — like appliance cords for appliances I no longer have … an AARP magazine from 2012 I never got around to reading {along with other newspapers and newspapers} … a serving plate I was looking for just a few weeks ago buried amid stuff in the closet … tax records from 2004. When I first moved to Maine, I still owned the Reveille/Between the Lakes. So I had files — mostly invoices, paid invoices and correspondence — dating back to 2016. I sold the paper in 2017. Obviously, they are not following me.

So, another chapter is closing. There ain’t much in the material department — but there is a treasure trove in the memory department. And its onward and upward to the next chapter. It will be fun watching where this all leads.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Peace begins when expectations end. — Ranji  Varughis

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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13 Responses to Memories

  1. I have been torn and battered,
    and there’s no fruition;
    though memories are shattered,
    hang on to ammunition.
    The past, yeah, wrecked and gone,
    and those dreams are out of sight,
    but soon will come a bloody dawn
    and I still am in the fight.
    Yesterday’s a futile yearning,
    tomorrow’s waste of breath.
    ‘Tis today I shall be earning
    a right and honourable death.
    There is no grace on which to sup,
    so bring it, and I’ll light ’em up.

  2. I’m sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be. I remember when my sister died in a car accident. We shared a room and dresser drawers. It was so odd removing her clothes. You and your wife were together much, much longer. Your grief mirrors your love for her. I see it and it’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  3. TamrahJo says:

    I’ve downsized through choice and through necessity – I’ve lugged crates of ‘keepsakes’ that only make sense to me, or I keep on hand, because others can’t bear to throw them out, but aren’t ready to let go of, just yet – Sometimes I revisit, ponder the memories attached and wonder – “Memory in tact? Hurt healed? Do I need this tangible reminder to cling to or to demonstrate loyalty or (fill in the blank) anymore?”
    I used to do such things every year, sometimes every 6 months – then life got busy – and well – I didn’t address until I knew I needed more space and there were some hodge-podge memory/supply/stuff crates taking up space after a loved one did major move/downsize, etc.
    So much of it I was able to let go of – or let go to someone who could use it, just because, well – there was several someone’s who just hung out and listened to the stories/memories/hurt, while I navigated it – They didn’t tell me to ‘get rid of’ or “you better keep it” they just listened, and said, “Set aside to decide later, or what crate does it go in? Keep/Donate/Give to loved one/Trash bag? Do ya know yet?
    Their simple act of listening and saying, out loud, ‘choose’ was all that was needed for me to say, “nope, not ready yet’ or ‘wow! thanks for letting me get rid of it AND keep it, all at the same time – – hugs and loves as you walk this process – 🙂

    • Aw, thanks! You know when you know. 🙂

      • TamrahJo says:

        Yup – and no hurrying it or rushing it or making it happen on someone elses time frame – -I’ve had a lot of conversations today, online, offline, etc., centering around what it means to love, to stand witness for each other – when our usual forms of ‘working through’ aren’t working – and the great gift it is to just be, and or struggle, and not be hurried through the process – 🙂 And so, as usual, while wading through your own stuff, I see the connections between it all -and yes – all about me – all about you – all about everything, in these moments – 😀

  4. I am not sure what to say. That is rare. I always have something to say. I have lost my mother, my father, my stepmother and my fiancé through death. I have two daughters who got mad at me four years ago and I have missed my daughters and grandchildren for for long years. I still have my grandchildren’s pictures that they colored when they were five years old, hanging up in what used to be their bedroom for most of the summers and on many weekends. The twins are five now and my other granddaughter will soon be turning eleven. I cried and cried when I gave my granddaughter’s Barbie doll house and all of their toys away. They were just collecting dust. I did not give them to Goodwill I did not want them sitting on a shelf. I put ads online a local garage sale sites and gave them to young parents with young children and to friends grandchildren who would play with them. Those Precious Moments do indeed hold special moments in your life and special memories. Those items are precious. When you lose the people you love it is natural that you want to hang on to those items that your loved one loved. I totally understand. Please look me up on the five minute writing for Challenge and read my blog. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God comfort your hurting heart.

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