GE and kids are coming for the week-end so it seemed like a great idea to clean closets. It felt good after I finished Closet #1 in the pink bedroom. I was able to donate some craft items to the Women’s Shelter for the after school program. There were some old stained sheets and worn out blankets to send to Peewee’s for their homeless dogs. After it was all done, I could step back and look at both closets and wonder why I had put off the cleaning.
It was in Jack’s closet that I had the hard time. Of course. His closet looks very close to the way it looked on January 15, 2009. I distributed some of his t-shirts to family and friends, but I set aside 18-20 to use in a quilt or wallhanging. I kept them in a sack because I perceived that they still carried something of his smell. They probably didn’t, definitely don’t now. But I was afraid they’d lose whatever imagined remnants of Jack if I left them on hangers.
Just working in his room is an emotional challenge. It has changed since his death. We took down the bed, put in some stacked shelves to hold his treasures. His treasures. How will those ever be boxed and put away? I don’t have to do that now, but the thought freezes my core.
We had these memory cards out at Jack’s funeral for friends and family to share thoughts about him. I lost them. For awhile, I was afraid I’d thrown them away and told GE that I might have. “Oh, Mom! I hope not.” (“Me, too!’ I thought at the time. My thoughts were so elusive after Jack’s death that I might have thrown them away without thinking.) I found the cards in the very back of the wide shelf at the top of his closet. I tried reading one or two of them, but the emotional riptides were dragging me out to sea. I left them out; perhaps it’s time for GE and me to read them together.
My friend and fellow blogger, Rebecca Carney (http://onewomansperspective02.wordpress.com), wrote a blog a few days ago about the sifting process of life and loss. Because we have the loss of a child in common, I rarely miss her blog. When I commented on the sifting blog, she responded with “In my mind, I picture a giant colander (like the kind used in the kitchen) or flour sifter…or the kind of sifter used in panning for gold…during the sifting process, certain things stay in while others don’t. Sifting takes a great deal of shaking and disturbing the status quo…as does loss.”
Life has a way of confronting me with the sifting process even when I want it to stop. I don’t like the shaking and shifting of what is normal. But this grief is a marathon, not a sprint. The status quo doesn’t get to stay undisturbed. What can I let go of and what can I keep? What do I need for the journey? What can I drop by the path?