Friday, July 20, 2012


There is a massive clean-out going on here today, completely unplanned. I mean, I've meant to for a long time now, but it wasn't in my plan for today. Not really news-worthy. Just - matt would be psyched. He would also wonder why I'm holding even the small bits I am. He would hold up something, I imagine now, and ask "why are we taking this across the country?" or "is this something you think you'll use?"

Huh. I realize I just typed "taking this across the country." There are indeed changes happening, though not right now. Preparations being made, thoughts moved, if not the household yet. Making the load lighter, picking tasks apart. Making all of myself lighter. I read somewhere the other day, someone leaving a place they have loved, that they would not miss the magic of the place because they will take everything magical with them. I will miss this place, this evidence of our life. And I will take our life inside me. I will take it everywhere I am.

I have lived here longer than anywhere I have lived since childhood. In the Before, we'd starting packing for our move. I was so happy to leave here. So happy to leave it behind, with all its flaws and annoyances. It would be something I thought of fondly, and fleetingly. To leave here Now will be hard, even with the irritations piling up.

If I think too much of erasing even your old fingerprints, left in grease stains on the cabinets, I feel my edges start to cling. Like years ago, when my mother would go through bags of things I'd destined for Goodwill, pulling out each thing I'd bagged, saying "are you sure you want to get rid of this? But it looks so nice. You should keep it." This is different, of course, this evidence of our life is not a dress that's nice but I never wear. It isn't a candle-holder that has never been my style. It's where I look and see you, standing there. It is also the place that housed me while I screamed and cried and stared. It is the place that has held my hardest and my most beautiful. But I suppose that is in me. It goes wherever I go.

If I sit too long, I will lose momentum, and all this stuff in bags will now sit here on the living room floor instead of being hidden in closets and in drawers. Keep going. Keep going. A purge of what really never should have come in the door. Lightening the load.


The car is packed, the house is clean. In the things I sorted through, I found a file from an old writing teacher of mine. I knew her husband had been killed by a drunk driver. I even tried to contact her once, early in this After. But I have no recollection of seeing this writing from her, these hand-outs, though clearly I did way back when: my underlining and notes are all over them. Sitting outside, I find this, in this paperwork from her, a quote from Theodore Roethke:

I learned not to fear infinity,
the far field, the windy cliffs of forever.
What we love is near, at hand,
Always, in the earth and air.
What we love is here,
and what is here is home.



  1. you are never far from my thoughts and always in my wishes for peace. moving is tough but you do take "everything" with you. i am glad you have taken your time with this. moving the day of your husband's funeral is NOT AT ALL advisable. i still am suffering from the kick in the teeth of having no choice but to do that. i never got to say goodbye to the places we walked, and just were together.

    i love the quote. i wish you peace.

    1. thank you susan. I just went through the "box of death" - all the paperwork, condolence cards, all the bits and scraps of paper from the last days Before and the first days After. Whew. It did hurt, but I am glad it's done.

      I foud myself saying that to people a lot in those early days - living this experience is not advisable. I cannot recommend it to anyone.

  2. sounds hopeful to me...sad, but hopeful...someday maybe we will both experience hopeful without sad...

  3. timely for me...i move sept. 1. gearing up...i'll take photos of everything...i'll purge a little...the big question for me is what to do with his desk/computer- set it up again in the new apartment? but i can't get rid of it?

    it's all so, so hard. like you exactly we were gearing up to move right Before- and all of the annoyances! but somehow those have seemed much smaller in the After and i'm going to have a really hard time closing the door the last time...just thinking about it is leaving me a bit breathless...