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Why? Who? What's this blog about? It's about MEEEE!

Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

Astrocytoma

About Jane's brain tumour journey: Astrocytoma.co.uk
 

07 March 2004

Packing up

The last week has started. On Friday I will say goodbye to my colleagues and then Tuesday the 16th, I will hop in the car and be off for England. Yippie!!!
I have started to pack up. And take the furniture apart. I am not taking anything with me because my room in England is furnished. So coming TUesday, the rubbish-people will come to pick up my old sofa, a cupboard and a side-table. I'll be sitting on the floor for 3 days:)

As I was clearing stuff away, I found photos and letters from past lives. What do you keep, what do you throw out? I went through my stuff and I decided to treat it like clothes: if you have not looked at in for more than 2 years, throw it away. And so I did. but from memorable things, I kept one thing. I did not throw away pictures I once liked, I just threw away pictures I had 5 tims with only a small difference. So my photo collection has halved now without actually losing any of the value to me.
And letters. Once they had tremendous value to me but should I keep them now that they no longer have? Is the memory not in my head? I went through 2 boxes of letters from different people. Friends, ex-girlfriends, family. First I threw out all the old birthdaycards. Then I threw out the cards congratulating me on my graduation (like: about 2). Letters from friends when I was in France, little scribbled notes from when I was in high school survived the cut. You know the notes you pass to your best friend during lectures? I thought they were funny and a nice reminder of high school.I don't have that many good memories of high school so a few grins, I did not want to throw out.

Love letters. Are all letters sent by lovers love letters? Love letters have a high cringe factor. On one side you read them and think: I can't believe I once felt like this for this person. And that she felt like that for me. But then again, it happened and it is silly to cringe. Because your feelings were true. But do you need to KEEP them? I mean, it's not like i will say to Jane: "Come here sweetie, let's sit on the sofa and read all the letters my ex-girlfriends have sent to me." And I wouldn't do it secretly either. So they end up in a box because I feel I can't really throw them away but that box has not been opened in at least 2 years.

So I read them. Not all of them. I just picked some out of the box. The ones that made me angry I just threw out. The ones that made me cringe, I just threw out. And then I realised I don't 'need' them. When a relationship ends, you start to give it a place in your life. And that place is obviously a very very different one than the place it had when you were still in that relationship. And after a relationship, sometimes you discover things that put the whole thing in a new light so that those letters seem to be from a person you don't really know at all. And so letters made me cringe because I could not believe how silly I had been, how childish, how naive etc. I do not need letters to remind me hoa happy I have been with some of my girlfriends. I have had happy timeswith all of them. And these times are stored in my head. I don't need letters to remind me.

So I picked out the photos from between all the letters and put them in my photobox. Because I do not want to deny those old relationships or forget about them (well, I can think of one that I would dearly like to forget about, thank God it lasted a few months only and she never wrote me a single card). And I threw the letters out. Because all of my past is in my head. I remember how I felt for my girlfriends. I do not need letters and cards to remind me of that. They are all treasured memories, some more painful than others. But the have their own place in my past and in my personality now. And now that I am starting a new phase in my life, I feel, quite litterally, that I do no longer want to carry the bad memories around like a burden. And the good ones are stored in my head so I do not need a reminder.

Jane thinks I should keep them. She has a box of things that remind her of a period in her life. Fair enough. But that is not the same as having a box of things that remind you of a person. I now have that box too: some stuff from different times in my life. Much more useful because it reminds me that were more in my life in those periods than just that particular girlfriend.

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