I may have blogged about this before, but since something has sparked it again, I'm going to go down this path, maybe for the first time, maybe a rerun. My apologies before hand if you've read me talking about this before.
When someone dies you often feel all of you have left of them are what they left behind. Material possessions. While this isn't the case at all - you have your memories, your child, your love, even your pictures - you still have this clinging to material objects that were theirs, or yours together. Ok, maybe this isn't for everyone, or even anyone, whose experienced a loss, maybe it's just me. But that's how I am, I cling to his stuff. His clothes, his shoes, his gear he left, our wedding stuff, anything that was ours together. I just like knowing where they are at all times, so if I need to go see a certain item, it's there. Maybe it's so I can always draw up memories from seeing the items, maybe I just think I can be closer to him, I don't know what it is, but I'm pretty crazy about his stuff - that's all I know. There will be times when I think of a certain object of his or mine and I have to find it right then and there. I have to make sure it's still in the place I put it, that I still have it. It's a crazy anxiety that's probably borderline OCD, but hey that's just my self-diagnosis.
Tonight, I was reminded of my attachment to the stuff. I was picking up things in the kitchen when I saw a shiny piece of fabric on the floor. At first I thought it was a piece from the veil I used for my mannequin wedding design last quarter but upon closer inspection, I realized what it was right away. Next to it, was a green piece of toulle. Together, with M&Ms inside of them and a pretty ribbon around them, was one of our favors at our wedding. Rachel and Jonathan May 2, 2009 was written on one piece of the ribbon, when it was whole. It was, however, not whole anymore. The toulle was torn, the white shiny part had holes in it and the M&Ms were no where to be found. A little four-legged girl that has been staying here had found this tasty contraption in my room and brought it to the kitchen to be enjoyed and therefore in my eyes, destroyed. I instantly filled with sadness and rage. I walked away from the creature and returned the torn pieces next to their purple counterpart on the shelf in my bedroom. I sat for a while and I thought. I remembered the excitement of getting the custom ribbons, our names and date printed in silvery letters marking the approach of our wedding. I remembered my mom and I putting them together. Using the pulley ribbons to make perfect little bows (it might have been cheating but hey, it was easy and pretty) over and over, I think we made a bit more than 200. Layering the fabrics, filling them with violet and teal M&Ms and tying them shut. I remember choosing to keep two, one of each color, to be a keepsake from our special day. And I remembered our special day, the preparations up to it and how amazing that day had been for both of us. I also had a bit of a revelation. While these objects, this stuff, does help draw up memories when we need them most, they are not necessary. They do not hold the memories, they just help bring them forth. I can bring forth those memories whenever I want though because they are stored in my head and my heart. I am still a little peeved at the creature but I won't hate her for life, she didn't know she was ruining a part of one of my favorite days. But no matter what, no one can ruin that day in my memories. I don't think this revelation will be any help in making me less anxious about the stuff, but it may help me if something does get ruined or goes missing.
It also brings forth another question that I am still not ready to answer or deal with yet. How much of his things, our things, should I keep? How long should I keep them? Should I keep every last item we had together until I am old and gray? Carting it with me to every move? Or one day, will I be further in my grief that I will be able to let go of some of the stuff and rely solely on the memories. Of this I am completely unsure. All I know is for now, I have the stuff, I love the stuff and I don't want to be without any of the stuff. So I guess yes, I am thankful. For all of the stuff. Maybe not the anxiety that I get, but definitely the stuff that I have to accompany the memories. Hmmm...