Last week, Karl and I worked for hours each day going through 40 plus years of stuff in my childhood home. It is very slow going, but little by little, one bit of a room at a time, life is slowly coming back into the house. It is starting to feel different.
Each day is a treasure hunt. She saved everything. A child of the depression, she couldn’t let go of stuff. Most of us hold on to more than we should; for me it is often because I don’t know what to do with it. I hold on to it to avoid making a decision. Things that don’t have a final “home” linger.
And, now, I find myself deciding hundreds of times each day-—keep, sell, donate, or trash? I’m trying to keep sentimentality out of it, but it is hard. As I clean through the cobwebs and the clutter, I am uncovering memories, too—in a photo, in a book, in a memento from a trip long ago. Which of those do I keep and which do I let go of? As I come across something that stirs a negative memory, I am actively choosing to “toss” it; I vowed to her and to myself to leave the pain behind.
I am trying to remember that I must choose what serves me now. Just like clothes that no longer fit or suit my current style, things that don’t suit the person I am now need to find a new home. I have to give myself permission to let go. What matters most is not contained in one memory or one object.
I am trying to remember the clear sense of divine purpose and love I felt on that last day I spent with her. I know it might sound odd, but I felt so powerfully connected to life on the day of her death. The realms merged for me in some ways. The only thing comparable for me was the day I provided the gateway for Kai’s entrance into this world.
On both days, I felt incredible pain. With Kai, it was physical. The epidural didn’t work for the last five hours. I felt like my body would break, and I doubted my ability to endure it. But, I did. And, it changed the way I looked at myself.
With my mom, the emotions were so raw, but I was determined to be there fully, and once again, I endured.
After Kai was born, I became “mother.” I felt like I had grown a new organ or another layer of my spiritual body. Becoming a mother changed me.
In the same way, I am not the same person I was two weeks ago. I am “motherless.” I know that many people use the word “orphan,” but that doesn’t seem right to me. I am not now nor was I ever an abandoned child. My mother was very much present in my life, and she gave me the tools to craft my own success. And, yet, I am different. Fundamentally.
On the day of her death, I felt the power of her spirit, and it fortified me. She passed the matriarchal torch to me and trusted me to carry on, but today, I couldn’t. There is so much to do, and I found myself completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and the decisions to be made. I was paralyzed, incapable of moving.
Decisions. Fear. Uncertainty. Tomorrow, I will try again. I will try to remember my strength and to trust that if I keep doing the work and taking steps forward, the right path will reveal itself.