If you've lost someone...
A little over three years ago, I lost my mother. The circumstances were unpleasant, though not entirely unexpected. Today really isn't an important date, like the anniversary of her death or her birthday. It just so happened that I have been going through all of her belongings. At the time of her death, perhaps coincidentally or as part of the universal plan, my life entered a period of upheaval, both bad and good, from which I am just now recovering. All of my mother's things, including my grandmother's and my uncle's belongings that she had after their deaths, went into storage. And there they stayed. But storage is much more expensive than dealing with things that need to be dealt with. And so everything is now in my house. Boxes and boxes and boxes of things. Books and diaries and pieces of my childhood mixed in with bills and old newspapers. I literally sort through each box paper by paper. By paper by paper.
The other day, I was listening to "Fresh Air." A woman had written a book about loss, and she talked a little bit about the strangeness of a person being there one moment and then gone the next, leaving everything - their clothes, their hair brush, their shoes, their work - behind. And I thought "yes. That is the part that is so odd." I had never heard anyone describe it in the words this woman used. Somehow it struck a chord with me. And I thought about that today when I picked up a T-shirt of my mother's. I had unearthed it the other day in one of the endless boxes. When I pulled it over my head, it smelled like her. And somehow, that is something my little human brain cannot wrap itself around. How can something still smell like a person who has been gone for over three years? How can her gloves still show the imprint of her hand? How can her shoes still look worn, even though she is not here to wear them?
I don't know why I am telling you all this; I'm not usually one to write about the very personal. But somehow, I just needed to. Thank you for reading it.