My goal today has been to get the guest bedroom closet cleaned out. I have stored everything in there, old records from a while back (years), wrapping paper, house plans that we got from the previous owner eighteen years ago, suitcases, a sewing notions box that folds out like an accordion, blankets, pillows, and pictures. There was one long flat plastic box that I had to pull down from the top shelf. It hit me on the head and knocked my glasses off. Like it really wanted to stay on that shelf. It had several manila envelopes in it. I started checking what was in them and didn’t get any further than the first envelop after finding a copy of Dad’s funeral sermon and his death certificate.
My heart is thumping now. Maybe it’s from lifting all the boxes, but I really wish I hadn’t stopped to read anything. Especially not about Daddy’s funeral. There were quite a few comments of how much we loved him, how shy he was with his emotions, and how he didn’t handle trying to spare us from his growing old and feeble very well. A lot of the memories came back up of Reverend Pat Srinivas coming over to talk to us before she wrote the sermon–the day after Daddy’s suicide .
Not full on flashbacks. After nearly twenty years, I think my mind has somehow learned to put a stop to going down those memory trails. Not full on panic attacks either. But my heart rate is high. My chest and throat ache with a dull terrified feeling.
Okay. I get it now why I’ve dreaded cleaning out that particular closet. I really would rather be outside painting the front porch or going through my bookcase like I did last week. Or cleaning out the garage where I can feel strength in my body and not so much pain in my heart. Too many bones in that closet. I even have the genealogy of both my dad and mom’s families in there somewhere.
Even so, I still have to go back in there and figure out what’s in the rest of the boxes that I pulled out to sift through before that last box hit me. We are going to be moving in a few months. I wish a friend who would come over and go through these papers and memories for me. Or at least hang out with me to give me some courage. Decide what to do with all the cards that Alan has given me over the years. Thank God he is still alive. He didn’t die after his open heart surgery. But, do I put the cards from him in that same box that houses Daddy’s funeral sermon? Reverend Srinivas wrote something about how we should never try to hold in so much that we become over-burdened. I guess that’s what she thought of Daddy’s mindset, that he didn’t want to be a burden in his old age. I never have been able to reason out his mindset at that time. And I probably won’t ask someone to come help me either. Am I a nut that’s living close to the tree? Or is it just that I don’t want to dive in there again, in all the emotions of my life. Shit. They could become a Steven King story, I think.
Thinking you’re a burden on someone is childish. Years ago Mom went through her cedar chest and gave me back all the letters that I sent to her when I had moved to Houston. I had an active imagination even back then and never wanted to burden Mom with the truth of my experiences out there. Instead I pissed and moaned about what others did to drive me crazy. Or I would tell some dishonest story that held a smidgen of truth enough to remind me exactly what was going on at the time. At least I know those are not in there. I shredded those letters and put them in the compost pile in the back yard. I don’t really enjoy knowing what a childish idiot I was at 25. After getting into recovery from co-dependence, I’ve regretted doing away with those letters pretty often. But right now I don’t have many regrets. I’d hate to read them again after just reading Daddy’s sermon.
I keep thinking once we get moved to our new place and the next time anyone goes through all this shit, it won’t be me.