The approaching move to Vancouver has necessitated a purging of “STUFF” we’ve collected over the years. Much of my evenings are spent looking at 16 years of paraphernalia that we should have tossed years ago. Nevertheless, we had the space and decided to keep it just in case we needed it. Really, when do you ever need it again? My Saturdays culminate with delivering another carload of donations to the local reuse shop. While Sundays I sort equal amounts of garbage and recyclable materials. Tuesday night I hit a roadblock. Well, more accurately a speed-bump.
I began to sort, donate or throw away items that are located on the main levels of our home. Until this point, it was always crap hidden away in the basement or items hardly utilized. Now I was looking through daily pieces of our life and more often than not, tearing up and saying goodbye. The tears were not tears of grief. These are tears of affectionate memories and a love still thinly below the surface. It is an interesting experience to realize that things are really changing. It was surprisingly easy to compartmentalize the gargantuan changes that are afoot. Now, I have daily reminders that change is coming.
I came across the last birthday card I gave to Allison. It was on her 41st birthday, the day before she was admitted to the hospital. I picked up sushi from our favorite restaurant. My daughter and I sat cross-legged on the bed and the three of us ate our family dinner together. We talked about our boring day, we laughed, enjoyed the company of each other and celebrated another birthday as a family. No one ever expected it would be our last meal together. Allison’s last birthday. You never know when something is “the last” until in retrospect you realize it was the last. I feel strange to say that it was oddly perfect. Not remembered with sadness but fondness. A family celebrating together, laughing together, loving together. As I navigate sorting my goodbyes, I’ll gladly shed tears in remembrance of memories like these.