Saturday, December 05, 2009

I have watched a lot of television since Thomas died, mostly stuff that everyone else watches (CSIs of various stripes, Law & Orders of various stripes, and a bunch of other crime shows). But last Friday evening there was not much on broadcast channels and I was not feeling like reading so I started channel surfing (Thomas was not really a channel surfer in my memory, despite the availability of the remote). In the course of this I found the Style channel and a program called "Clean House" in which the owner of said house calls this crew in to help get a grip on the clutter. This particular program was about a guy who had lived with his mother until her death two years earlier: he inherited the house and then just didn't change anything or apparently throw anything away and now he was getting married to someone who had similar issues. The resulting mess was breathtaking (literally I suspect for those allergic to dust).

The point of this is this poor man had never been able to give away any of his mother's things. He had a room devoted to her (it had been her office in life), including her clothing. He clearly had been very attached to his mother. I have a portable closet in my basement with Thomas's civilian clothing about which I feel the same way. But watching this man finally allow himself to be convinced that it was time to let Mother's clothing go, to save a few things (a craft project and her typewriter) as reminders: well, I think I'm inspired a bit. It was pretty clear that this lesson applies to me too. There are things I am not going to get rid of ever (let his surviving siblings figure out what to do with the correspondence from others and the various souvenirs he had picked up when I'm gone) but the clothing: it is time to let it go.



At December 23, 2009 at 7:13:00 AM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee Ann,
I kept my Grandma's bathrobe for many, many years. I believe I finally let go of it when one of those organizing shows said, "The thing is not the memory."
I realized that I had really been afaid that I would lose all those memories without those tangible things to touch and see and (I admit it) wear.
During our first move my Grandma's macaroni salad bowl broke. My husband found me in tears as I sobbed, "It was my grandmother's," and he responded in exasperation, "EVERYTHING was your grandmother's!" Which was not entirely untrue.
I photographed some things and then donated them where they would bless others who needed them. Not sit in a box in my basement waiting for me to take them out and visit with them every now and then.
I'm not suggesting you let go of Thomas's clothes, just assuring you that I would most definitely have done the same.
I think of Thomas often when
I watch my own young son and treasure and count up these moments, knowing they are precious and fleeting.
Lee Ann I can find nothing suitable to say what I want to express except I am so so sorry. I am awed by Thomas and his willingness to sacrifice everything for his country. And yet, I wish I could turn back time and hold him back...


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