Monday, July 6, 2009

A Time to Let Things Go

Memories seem to attach to things like barnacles to a pier. The things themselves are just a collection of atoms arranged to form a doll, a piano or a chair. And the memories aren't really attached to those things, but to some synapses running through my brain.

Will I forget my Great-Aunt Sophia, now that I've sold Mary Ann, the antique doll with the beautiful bisque head, that she gave me when I was tiny? I saw her infrequently and hardly knew her, yet it seems important to remember her.

Will I forget my grandmother (Sophia's sister, Ophelia), having removed the needlepoint cover she made for a stately armchair that was passed down to me, and then, unable to reupholster the chair or even to put the cover back on, having set the poor, ravaged thing out at the curb for the trash men -- or just anyone driving by?

Will I forget my dad, Ophelia's son, Roy, who used to play the Baldwin Acrosonic spinet that's been sitting unplayed in my extra room for years, the one I learned to play on, now that a young couple with a baby are coming Saturday to buy it and take it away?

No, of course I will not forget any of them. But if the physical evidence of their existence is gone, will they become more distant from me? For heaven's sake, they've all been dead for years. How much more distant could they be? And I have boxes and boxes of photographs of them, if I care to reminisce.

Damn! It's so silly to feel bereft, or queasy, or whatever it is that I'm feeling now. I always impatiently snap at others to get rid of things they don't need or use. It's easy, I say to them: just pitch it. I love the way they plow through and get rid of clutter on "Clean House." (Niecie is my role model.) So what is this tightness in my gut?

Wrong question. Right question: Can I allow myself to grieve these losses, even if it doesn't make sense? I say, "Yes."

1 comment:

Joe said...

the piaaaaaano? no!

oh well.

you're right. Out with the old, in with the new!

I try to think of it this way: whoever you inherit something from got rid of it. Whether it was a gift, or something passed down at death, doesn't matter. You can't take it with you.

but you can take SOME stuff with you- just not actual stuff stuff.