My life – regurgitated

August 13, 2010 at 8:41 am 4 comments

A few months after Mom died, my sister brought me a small box and said, “Here. These are yours.” I opened the cardboard flaps on top and saw paper things: greeting cards, envelopes, a few photos…  I quickly closed the box and put it on a shelf in the closet. It wasn’t time.

One day this week, I was looking for something in the closet and found the box. I knew I needed to deal with the contents, but I so dreaded the task. Most days, I function pretty well.  But every now and then, I have a horrible “miss Mom” day where the tears are either streaming down my cheeks or stuck in my throat. I was afraid the box would set off one of those “miss Mom” days—or worse yet, a series of those days.

Nonetheless, I sat down at the table the other evening and opened the box. I began to sort through the contents and placed each item into a pile: grade school pictures, junior high report cards, high school graduation announcement, wedding memorabilia, greeting cards, and so on. I further divided the cards into two piles—one stack to throw away and one to keep.

Turns out that going through this box was a little uncomfortable but not for the reasons I thought. Seems Mom had kept every greeting card I ever sent her, which means it spanned four distinct segments of my life.  Marriage 1. Marriage 2. Single. Marriage 3. In a way, seeing the signatures and handwritten notes inside those cards was a journey through my adult life. Reading them took me back to events, places, and relationships that I hadn’t thought about in years.

A few hours later, it was all over. I’d laughed at the words my sixth grade teacher wrote on my report card. I’d mentally walked across the stage to receive my high school diploma. I’d survived tumultuous relationships before finally growing up and settling down. I’d watched my parents’ relationship evolve. And I’d seen myself mature from year to year, as reflected by the sentiments I wrote inside the greeting cards.

And then it was over. I was at the bottom of the box. I smiled…then sighed…then put the few items I wanted to keep back into the box and closed the lid. I carried the “discard” pile to the trash, pulled the drawstring, lifted the plastic bag from its container, and carried it to the garage to be thrown away.

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Entry filed under: Aging gracefully, Words of wisdom.

“The Bible tells me so!” Working the system

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathy  |  August 13, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Love this Rita…..isn’t it amazing the journey most of us take! Thank God we finally grow up.
    Kathy Mohne

    Reply
  • 2. Rita  |  August 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Yes, it’s been a journey…still is! 🙂 And it feels good to be able to let go of stuff—emotional stuff AND tangible stuff.

    Reply
  • 3. Annski  |  August 17, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I know that loss is far from being a singular event and feelings ebb and flow through the aftermath. I am glad you tackled the task and came away with warm feelings and good memories.

    I finally starting dealing with my old journals (from 1977, forward) and other than being bored with lots of repetitive whining, it was amusing. But then what to do with them?! Instead of tossing/burning them, I decided to shred the pages and will make handmade paper of them, someday. As with their mistress, they can have a new life for the old.

    I love that your mom saved these chronicles of your life and that you meant so much to each other.

    Reply
  • 4. Rita  |  August 22, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Ann, that is a wonderful idea! You’re so crafty…in a good kind of way. 🙂

    Reply

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