Warning: This blog post deals with loss and sentiment near the end
The nurse calls you in. Tests are performed and the doctor informs you your heart is not pumping properly. In the same breath, he tells you there is a miracle cure for the issue. The problem? You had to start doing it when you were younger. What a rotten diagnosis coupled with a cure that has elapsed. There is no do over. No time machine exists where you can slip through a portal and fix the past. You’re suddenly angry that you have wasted this time. You ask what you are to do now. How do you make the blood flow seamlessly into your heart with a broken pump? Wait, there is another cure. Why did he keep this from you, even though it’s not easy? It will require mountains of work, emotional toil and what will seem like endless decisions. Every day your energy will increase, your mind will open up and your health will improve. You and your prescription meander away. Sadly, you consider the wasted time, the work that lies ahead and the simple fix that slipped through your fingers.
Bargaining aside, you get to work right away. Plowing through meaningless items as the trash can fills with the lid with no bowl, The chipped plate, and the sketchy pile of ink pens that line your drawer. A record of every place you have visited is etched on the side of each stating the business name. ABC car repair, XXX insurance, and fifteen from your last place of employment. Many of them no longer write. Then you start in on the bins of books, slightly sentimental items, and knick knacks. You take a snapshot in your mind because you are not the kind of person who can look back at photos of these things. You will mourn them later. You place them in the box before you and your heart skips a beat. As the tape rips from the roll, you label it sharply “Sell.” Why sell you ask and not donate? The dollars you earn from that box will help keep the wolf away. Your spending has landed you in the middle of your own personal forest. You run from your phone, panting endlessly, people asking why you can’t pay. You owe them, so you decide to sell a book, the boots you never wore and a home. It all goes.
Suddenly you feel better, the boxes are piling up, you put the kid’s art work and your craft supplies aside. Last you tell yourself. Rooms are emptying out. You walk into your newly downsized bedroom with your Project 333 closet and you want to stay in it forever. It feels calm here, peaceful. Uncluttered. Even though there are no doors or frames, curtains, or flooring in the bath it feels like a spa. It’s painted in the color of the seas you’re sailing now. You order a coffee, stretch out in your lounge chair, crack open a book. Your house is becoming a paradise, void of so many things, vastly under construction and perfect in your eyes. Then it happens. You open a bag that you believe the contents are different. Inside lies more work, more decisions and back to work you go. Not grudgingly this time, there is a little skip in your step and not your heart. Each day is like that now. A little sadness followed by renewal.
Days have passed, you wake up every morning knowing that your healing is in progress. There is that one box, the one that contains everything. The outfit your child was wearing before he slipped away forever, the cross from your father’s flowers, the endless supply of trinkets from your aunt’s drawer. Your grandmother’s jewelry, funeral announcements, and the stuffed teddy bear. Do you seal the box immediately? What effect does this box have on your heart? Joshua Field’s Millburn’s voice booms from my iPhone. “Is it useful or does it bring you joy” This box does neither but I can’t let it go. It’s been with me since 1991 when I suffered the first of many great losses.
Perhaps I could let go of one thing, just one small item in the box. I find my cousins baby bracelet. I could let go of that. I make a mental note to send it to him. He should decide if he wants to keep it. There are other small things that belonged to his mother, I will send them as well. What of the rest of the box? I’m putting it aside. It’s too early to decide. It’s weighing me down and keeping me from the things I will not long for or miss.
Excessive scrapbook paper and stickers, boxes of old bills and my own personal jewelry which lies in a tangled mess. I combined three locations where it was stored together. Little of it is sentimental, it’s mostly costume and home made. That box will be easy. Easy on the mind, easy on the heart.