As I get older, I have come to realize that much of the stuff I have collected over the years I no longer need. Letting go of “stuff” can be tough. For me, going from a 5,000 square foot townhouse to living in one bedroom at my parents’ has given me a big push in that direction. Most of what represents my life has been neatly boxed away in a 5X10 storage unit. Photos. Books. Remnants from my childhood. Cherished memories of my children as they were growing up.
I made an agreement with myself to begin to go through this unit and all the stuff. Box by box. Item by item. In doing so, memories have flooded through me. Granted much of what was in there I didn’t need at all. Those were easy decisions to make. But many of the remaining items were much more difficult. For some, I made the executive decision to donate them. For others, I asked my children their thoughts. In other cases, I deferred the decision until a later date.
Last weekend, I finally got through all the boxes (but one). I felt accomplished. So much lighter. And freer.
The very last box was “his”. Our entire relationship condensed into one large plastic tote. I had been through it soon after his suicide in 2012 but hadn’t opened it since. It was time. Time to review. Time to let go.
When I opened the box, I had not remembered how much I had jammed into it. A sweatshirt. Dried flowers. Deflated balloons. Ribbons from presents. Emails. Notes. Letters. Everything meaningful.
But mostly there were cards. Seemed like there were hundreds of them. It was overwhelming. I read each one. Every single one. I forgot how good he has been at picking out cards. They were always so expressive and eloquent. Not your Hallmark type that rhymed and seemed superficial. But the cards that were descriptive and evoked deep feelings.
I had forgotten how he had signed off “I love you today, tomorrow and always.”
Even after we had broken up he signed his cards and letters that way.
And he just didn’t sign his name and call it a day. He always wrote something beautiful in each card.
“You mean more to me than I could ever describe.”
“I so appreciate the person you are and what you have brought to my life.”
“I want us to be together forever.”
“You are my best friend.”
I never doubted what he wrote. I knew emotions were hard for him so writing them down was something he didn’t take lightly. He wouldn’t write it if he didn’t feel it. It was a permanent expression for all to see. So many of his emotions he put on paper. So many. I was deeply touched all over again.
I cried reading though these cards.
I also forgot how many prayers I had written for him. Yes, prayers. I had this thing about writing down my prayers, putting them in envelopes and storing them in beautiful boxes. It was my way of letting them go and not trying to control the outcome which (as a Type A personality) was my usual way of approaching life. I found boxes and boxes of these prayers. Hundreds and hundreds of envelopes. All with dates. Years upon years.
I opened a few of the envelopes after he died and read them out loud to him. I wanted him to know I had always prayed for him, his family and for us. I shouted them to the heavens while the tears flowed like rivers. Maybe then he would understand. Maybe then.
Now I just cried at the sheer magnitude of different-sized envelopes filled with prayers, prayers and more prayers. I sure could be prolific.
“Please help him at work.”
“Please help him and his relationship with his children.”
“Please heal whatever misunderstanding we are experiencing right now.”
“Please help him find peace.”
So many prayers. So much love.
It was heartbreaking to be reminded about how the love poured from our hearts and souls yet we just couldn’t seem to make things work. I guess it’s what happens sometimes.
I always tell people who ask why we broke up that sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to let go even when you don’t want to. For me, letting go of “us” felt like I had died in so many ways. I grieved then and I still grieve now for what might have been.
While sitting in my storage unit and going through these memories, I knew it was finally time to let go. Let go of “him.” Let go of “his” stuff. Let go of “our” stuff. Let go of “us.”
So I gave away the Harley Davidson blanket, the sweatshirts and all the mementos.
I threw away the dried flowers, deflated balloons, bows, and ribbons.
I piled the cards, letters, notes, emails and prayers into the shred box.
I closed the door to the storage unit and walked away from what used to be; and what can be no more.
Did my heart feel lighter at that moment?
Not really. Too heartbroken. Too sad.
But I know it’s moving in that direction.
Sending you love, comfort and peace!