Monday, March 24, 2008

at the top of the hall closet - was a small overnight suitcase - paperboard - striped pattern - inside, were all the scraps of paper from daddys life. when he died - my sisters - the youngest and oldest - disagreed over the sacredness of that suitcase - we all knew it existed - no one had ever dared to peek inside - it held untold pieces of his life - our lives - we whispered - as brothers and sisters often do - it held the adoption papers of whichever one of us seemed less at the time - later, when we packed momma up and moved her from their home to a new home for herself - all her own - momma gave me daddys suitcase - i had it for a week before i opened it - and then it was by accident - it had become so old and worn that at some point daddy had tied a strip of t-shirt fabric around it to help hold it shut - so i sat down in the middle of my bedroom floor and - dealt.

there were no adoption papers - there were newspaper articles on distant cousins - images of people who looked like someone i should know - but sadly didn't - wedding announcements - birth announcements - paycheck stubs - union cards - various wallets - cigarette lighters with his name and initials scratched into the sides - a permanent forever signature - as i rubbed my finger tips across those scratches - my mind wandered ..

what matters most... when all is said and done .. it's not the things you hang onto or have that make you who you are - i don't think - i spend a good part of my day sorting through treasures, trinkets and junk people leave behind - things they thought they couldn't do without - pieces of lives that in some way helped define a who or a where - the stories i encounter would depress many - lives torn apart and discarded - it's hard sometimes to make the decision to toss something, something someone thought enough to place behind lock and key, away from danger and harm - mostly cards from grandmothers, letters from sons and daughters barred from society, photos of forgotten children, a toy, an odd brooch or two.

what i know - hold what is here and now. reach out and say

i love you-

i miss you


i am sorry if i hurt you.

and in doing this, i think we become who we were meant to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi Toe. When my Dad died my oldest brother (the appointed executor) declined to even help w/Dads things. Which also included my Mothers as she died many years ago. My sister, myself and my husband had to do it. We three were very close to my Dad and it was very, very hard for us. After all was said and done, I got my Dads pocket knife, which is my greatest treasure and is w/me always. And a tea set that we got my Mom (she loved it). We took 16 boxes to Salvation Army. We made boxes w/photos and anything that pertained to my 3 brothers, etc. Also sisters-in-law got things...Anyway my brothers think we found some lost gold/silver treasure and no longer speak to any of us. My oldest brother sent a check split between us 5 (from some sort of insurance thing). I locked it away and will never cash it. It is so sad. And so stupid. Anyway, my memories of my parents are alway s imprinted in my heart. You don't need an object to remember love. Peg