It is November 29, 2017. My husband would have turned 63 yesterday. It has taken me two years to get to a point where I can start sorting through our life together and let go. I have almost finished clearing out the last storage locker and I am horrified by how much money I have spent storing things that I am now selling for peanuts, donating or tossing into the landfill.
All these things are a part of my history. Some I am happy to dispose of, others cause me great angst. All the records the govt says we have to keep for 7 years. The dat tapes, CDs, DVDs, floppy discs, and Zip discs with years of work on them that can never be recovered because technology thrives on change and even if I could plug in the drives and pull off the files, the current programs won't recognize them. Samples of work that are really just ink on paper. Awards. Oh what to do with the awards. I don't really feel like hanging them up. I can't bring myself to throw them away. So they are in the back of my SUV and will likely find their way into the house. Maybe I can pull them out of the frames so they don't take up space. Tuck the trophies into a corner - maybe use them as doorstops.
None of it matters anymore.
It is the past.
Which makes me think of how our society seems hell-bent on erasing history - the good and the bad. On the news, people are screaming to pull down statues. In our homes new generations scorn antiques that have survived 100 years and buy "contemporary" furniture made of bits of wood held together by enormous quantities of glue. Furniture that will off-gas, burn in a flash, and contaminate our landfills with its toxic contents. Yet we all scream sustainability. What is sustainable about our any of this.
Have we learned nothing from history?
Seems we don't really want to. We are a throw away society. We do not want "baggage". Clearly, ignoring all the things we don't want to think about or admit makes life much more palatable. It is easier to live a nomadic lifestyle where there is no need to move belongings because they have a lifespan of 2-3 years. But what does it say about us as people. Where are our roots. Are we just as willing to toss our friends and neighbours?
As I donate his belongings and throw away paperwork from his various businesses, his school projects, memorabilia from high school and his first marriage, my husband slowly fades from view. I will keep a few photos and his Little League trophy from when his team competed for the world championship but most of his life is secreted away in a computer that I do not have the password for.
Life will go on. His children will marry and start lives he will never be a part of. His future grandchildren will never meet him. I feel I need to keep some parts of him so they can catch a glimpse of who he was. Otherwise he is just dust.