when i packed away her things it wasn't easy. the sheer volume collected over 2 decades was overwhelming. and it wasn't just that. it was like packing her away. it was shutting the door on her time here. it was her lovable and frustrating quirks all mixed up together in drawers, and cabinets, on desktops and shelves. it was why did she have 7 boxes of staples? it was the cutesy notepads her mom gave her every year. it was the handful of animal shaped lip glosses she liked just because of their bottles. it was the drawer that had years of day timers she couldn't get rid of, where she used to keep that bottle of rum that she hated, and the wind up penguin that danced and made her laugh every time and the piles and piles of dumpster treasures brought to her from members that she accepted every time, and chocolate bars she hid and forgot about and the gum her sister used to send her from the states, and the two tiaras, one for her and one for me, that we wore that day and laughed, and it was everything. it was her history. i boxed it all up and put it away.
and i changed everything. in the middle of painting the walls turquoise i would stop and think about how she would hate that colour. and all the bright contrasting colours we chose. she would say it was gaudy or like a kindergartener chose it. i felt guilty, sad and free and guilty again.
recently dave went through the boxes. he told me after that he got rid of mostly everything. i'm glad i wasn't there because i couldn't have allowed it. at the same time i wish i was there because i would have taken a token or something. i could have saved something special.
then i saw her special mug. among the other mugs. it's an oversized red starbucks mug that she protected vigilantly. she never even let it sit with the other mugs and here it was in the midst of the mug population. well this was just wrong. so i swooped in and saved it. i didn't know what to do with it. i don't need a mug. so i had an idea. i'll plant something in it. she loves flowers. and i'll keep it. and i'll put her picture in the office because even if her stuff is gone, she's not gone. she's a part of me and a part of my history and i'll always remember her.