Are you searching for the river of your soul?
Then come out of your prison.
Leave the stream and join the river that flows into the ocean
I worked hard today; and I did hard work. In fact, I pretty much put in a twelve hour day as I got up around 8 AM this morning and it is now 8 PM in the evening and I have been going just about non-stop from beginning to end. Today I was working on letting go. If memory serves, I do believe I’ve written about this before but it turns out that letting go isn’t something that is done all at once. No, it is done in pieces, in fits and starts, a little here, a little there, perhaps even a fallback or two, followed by entrenchment, and then, forward progress once again.
I started this morning, well, after I took my shower, with the great paper shuffle. Although in this instance it is more than that. Laureen left many, many pages of research and notes, and diary entries and well, a life lived generates a lot of paper – a paper trail, if you will, and I am not one to throw away a piece of paper un-examined. I happened to find one of her many journals and as is so often the case, she only wrote on three pages of the entire journal. I took a photo of an brief entry she wrote on June 6, 2008 about things that make her happy and things that bring her joy –
Really, in a nutshell, these were the things that were the most important to Laureen in her life. Simple. She was always about being in the moment, being real, and being connected to each other and to the world around us. She loved all of the little critters that accompanied us on our journey – the birds most especially, but the chipmunks too. I think this one page summarizes the life that we lived together for the better part of thirteen years. And as I let this sink in now, I am reminded of a notion I once had that the doing thing is overrated. It’s the being with somebody and enjoy the quiet, reflective moments of life that are the moments worth pursuing and celebrating.
As is often the case on my stay-at-home days, I had multiple projects going on for most of the day. The biggest project, besides the aforementioned paper-pushing, was to clear out the rest of Laureen’s clothes and shoes from the bedroom, bag everything up, and donate it to St. Vincent’s. I always find that work so emotionally draining. I face it rather stoically as I am doing it and do not allow myself to make the emotional connections to a favorite pair of shoes, or that certain summer top that I know she loved. No, it all gets placed, quickly, into the black-hole of an 80-gallon leaf bag before I can stay my hand. As I was placing one of her winter coats into a bag I noticed many strands of her hair still clinging to the inside lining and thought that in another time I might have been able to clone her from such DNA scraps. But what would be the purpose? That spirit that I knew as Laureen is long gone and re-animating a facsimile would not bring her back.
It was three o’clock by the time I had my car all loaded up with bags of clothes, and shoes, and even a bag of her books too. And then off I went to give away more pieces of her. But they are not her of course. They are merely objects now and I hope they bring some simple joy to someone somewhere out there. I know she would want that. Of course, I will admit to having a small stash of clothing that I simply could not give away because they remind me so strongly of her. Her “snow leopard” pajamas. I used to call her my little snow leopard and I believe she was wearing those that final Christmas day when we came downstairs and she wanted to take selfies. No, those I could not give away. Not yet anyhow. Maybe someday.
But for all of that, more and more her possessions are being given up and let go. All of her shoes are gone now. There is not a stitch of her clothing in my bedroom. I have bought all new bedding. Slowly the house is becoming a place that she would not recognize, were she to return tomorrow. But of course, she will not return tomorrow, or ever in this lifetime. And that is the truth of it and that secret hope that I held for some time, that somehow she could return, well, I am letting go of that too, and realizing that I am on my own now.