Keeper of the Family

Over the last 3 years I’ve prepared to downsize.  Significantly.  I’m currently in a 3500+ square foot single home, and I’ve been preparing to move to a much smaller townhouse.  I’ve gone through every square inch of the house and thrown out or sold things I didn’t need, and packed up our family memories in anticipation of our move.

All of this changed last week when I came to the realization that I will not be moving to a townhouse.  At best I’ll be moving to a very, very small two bedroom apartment with my son.  I thought I was at peace with this. I went through the house with a different thought:  what will fit into a 2 bedroom apartment?  I thought I was doing well with this process, so imagine my surprise when, at 11:00 this morning, I burst into tears.

There was no warning, it happened so suddenly.  There was also no precipitating event.  I had spent the entire weekend filling up trash bags, and posting things for sale on FB, without a single tear.  Without any emotion.  Except perhaps anger.  I think anger will be my lifelong companion from here on out.

I started crying around 11 and I’ve continued throughout the day  Fortunately I had to work for 2 hours, otherwise I’d be quite dehydrated.

I took a yoga class at noon and found I couldn’t breath.  It wasn’t my lungs that failed today – it was my heart.  I think it has finally broken – perhaps for good.   Because there’s a huge difference between packing up 25 years and keeping the important things versus getting rid of all of it.  Now, in addition to forcing my children to pick up their mementos or trash them, I realize I have to get rid of:

  • most of my Christmas decorations
  • most, if not all, of my craft items
  • our piano
  • most of my sons sporting equipment
  • a majority of my kitchen items

I am not a pack rat.  I’ve never put much stock into saving “things”; or at least I thought I had not.  Today, as I threw away my sons pennants, all of my cookbooks, various kitchen items, and all the shelving from bathroom vanities…..I don’t know, it just really hit me.

How do you go through your Christmas ornaments and decide which few make the cut?  How do you go through photo albums, boxes of photos, boxes of report cards and school awards, and decide which is trash?  How do I tell my son that most of his sporting equipment  & souvenirs will have to go?  How do I process the fact that the 2 or the 3 hobbies in which I engage are not going to make the cut?

How I wish I was like my ex now, able to walk away from 25 years of memories without a second thought.

How strange that this is what it took for it to sink into my body that my family is gone.

It is not lost on me that it could be worse.  A tornado could have leveled my home, taking with it my pets, or a child.  A fire could have ripped through the house, leaving everything in a heap of ashes.    I could be dying of cancer.  It could be much, much worse.

In a macabre way, I wish one of these things had happened.  At least then I wouldn’t have to make the choice of what goes and what stays.

I’ve always joked about how excited I am to get to the age I am eligible for a nursing home.  Daily activities, someone else to cook and clean and built in friends – I’ve never understood the downside.  Until today.  Today, I understand the downside.

I think I’m too broken hearted to write any more.

2 thoughts on “Keeper of the Family

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