The left side of the closet. It is covered in dust and mixed with boxes, suitcases, Rubbermaid totes and cardboard cylinders. A mystery to explore, a frightening place for me, sullen, now that its owner is dead.
It was his side of the closet and its silence for a year has been a blessing for me. I could not think of him or his precious objects till now. Today, he seems less real to me – his life force not the power it has been since his death. Now it seems that this little corner of the world – his world – is asking for some attention.
My fear, on several levels, rests with memories a year behind. Will they surge into my day and take away my latest feelings of strength and well-being?
I approach that spot, his spot, his things, his dusty boxes loaded with his treasures. Brushing off thick dust, I choose my first trip back in time by lowering an old brown envelope. Lo and behold, as I dump the contents, there are pictures I have never seen of our last dog and cat, our kids and our house. They give me repose, a smile, reminding me of a time before sickness and death.
In the dust-covered cardboard cylinders are posters of the Blue Nose, airplanes, the Avro Arrow ( always a sore point in our house), and a picture of him – a huge print – showing him accepting an award at work in 1999. He looked awkward as he always did when someone tried to give him thanks or attention. He always worked hard and never expected acknowledgement. That humility and that humanity really showed in this picture.
I cannot find the strength to throw away anything. I know he would sit and tell stories in great detail about each item. Even though I don’t know the significance of this baseball card, or that trophy, he would have surely smiled and relished the memories of each small thing from the left side of the closet – that corner of the world that was uniquely his.
I know our three kids will want to look at all of these things, yet I fear it may be too soon for them. I will clean them up and tuck them away once again. They will be my treasures now.
One day, down the road, perhaps I will once again look at these keepsakes and smile about how much my precious husband and I loved life.
Perhaps, just maybe, my kids will do the same.