After someone you love dies its difficult to let go of their possessions.
Whether it’s a baby blanket, an old sweater, a scarf or a ragged toy ….and sometimes we never let go. The arduous task of sorting through personal ‘stuff’ is like going to the dentist….we put it off, knowing that when confronted with their things its painful…like letting go of a piece of them, or a memory. But memories can’t be stolen or lost or given away. So yesterday I had a brainstorm about what I could do with some of Savannah’s ‘stuff.’
Dempsey’s closet is brimming with boxes, overflowing with old dusty stuffed toys and board books and dress ups that she’s simply grown out of. And Peter has been nagging me to purge.
I knew that I’d come across fragments of Savannah’s life behind the bulging sliding doors. But I was prepared. And I think if you are ready, and IF you can embrace the grief it may bring, then that’s a great place to start.
And I did find some of Savannah’s favorite toys, like a Barney toy that sings “I love you and you love me” if you squeeze his fat belly, her beloved Jemima doll that went everywhere with her. And a small plastic red wagon that I remember Savannah dragging behind her as she collected pine cones from the garden. I remember the sunshine picking up the gold in her hair as she gathered one after the other of the pine cones we’d later paint with glitter.
And her books, oh her books! After Savannah’s hands became contracted from her horrid disease she couldn’t hold a book, or even turn a page! However, books still brought her comfort.
She couldn’t escape her illness, but we did manage to flee to the park. We’d pile her big red wagon and her blue reclining chair into our car and sit in the sunshine and read. Her smiles were such a reward back then! We also had a kind lady, Marcia who would come to our home, sit on her hospital bed, and read to her.
So, as I held these treasures in my hands I contemplated NOT giving them away, each one held a special memory. I could hear her dainty voice reading them…like she was right there next to me…..that was until Dempsey burst into the room and bombarded me with “Give those away Mummy, they’re for babies!” But how could I let go of these material things that were shrouded in memories of Savannah?
And I don’t know how this thought came to me, whether I read it somewhere or whether a light bulb went off in my brain, but I thought, “I can photograph them!” And make a memory book of these things that I didn’t want to part with but knew I had to….well, most of them anyway! :)
So tomorrow I’ll start cataloguing the ones I'll give away, one by one, this handful of cherished items that will give me gentle comfort anytime I wish…and Dempsey will have a collection of mementos of some of her sister’s short time with us which she might be interested in one day…..
And you can do this too! Create a memory album of photos of cherished possessions that you CAN’T hang onto for whatever reason, but you can record forever that can aid in your healing.
I did hang on to a few I couldn’t part with….that will always just be hers!
Ones that I can take out and touch and pause to remember a little girl with a pile of books, chattering away happily, swallowed up by her imagination of some place special far away in the pages of those books…like where I imagine she is now…….