I’m pretty sure I’m not the only bereaved parent who has boxed up things post loss and left them untouched for years.
Life kept moving at a fast pace after Dominic ran ahead to Heaven and it’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve had the time to even consider going through his stuff.
Time alone was not enough to push me toward doing the hard work of deciding what to keep, what to give away and (most painfully!) what to throw away. But various circumstances forced my hand and I’ve spent much of the last year digging through stuff and digging up memories.
To be sure, not everything has a direct connection to Dominic. I have a giant pile of craft materials that needed sorting and organizing.
Even then, as I put like items together I remembered pushing two littles in a buggy with two older children on either side through the craft store or Walmart. I knew where this tidbit was purchased and what school or church project prompted buying dozens of a certain sticker or wooden cut out.
This past week I’ve been working on “my” side of our two-car garage.
It’s never been used as a garage but instead as a catch-all for a house that has no basement. My side is where I store pantry overflow and all kinds of supplies from toilet paper to party goods.
It’s also where I put some things from Dominic’s kitchen when we had to hurriedly empty his apartment over seven years ago.
Seven years. How can it be seven years?
I finally had to do the hard work of deciding what I should REALLY keep and what it was time to let go of. I don’t like it. I don’t like it one little bit. But it is necessary.
I’m taking it in small doses-two or three hours a day-and trying to give myself grace when even that amount of time doesn’t seem to make a dent.
It’s grueling labor to dig up memories and lay down dreams.
Unrelenting emotional work.
Every bit tossed in the trash is a declaration that he isn’t coming back to claim it. I can’t ask him if he deems it worthy of saving because I can’t ask him anything.
That in itself is a kind of concession to defeat.
Where he is he doesn’t need or miss this stuff but it represents hopes and dreams to me.
I have to lay them down.
And that hurts.