I have decided it is time to move and to downsize, so I am moving into a high-rise. The move is soon, and it is making me crazy and frantic. My current house isn’t ready to sell, but I need to do that to have the money for the new place. So, after spending the morning Saturday at the church cleanup day, I went home and began cleaning Bill’s office. It had been neglected since he died and had become the repository for things I didn’t really know what to do with.
Bill took care of the house and paid the bills, so I had to look carefully through every piece of paper in his office. I eventually persuaded myself that I couldn’t save everything he had ever written. I can’t save his work files from the past 30 years. Old calendars that are journals of our lives together seemed important, but what would I do with them, other than store them? There were all the cards people had sent him when he was sick. As grateful as I am for the hundreds of people who loved him and wrote to tell him how much he had meant to them, I still couldn’t save and move them all because the new place is so much smaller.
I finally decided that all my sentimental/non-functional stuff had to fit into one chest that would be moved, and everything else simply had to go. That was harder than it sounds. Reading all of Bill’s correspondence, lesson plans, wine notes, and even his work was tough. It reopened some wounds of grief, and I shed some tears. When I was done, however, I felt as if a burden had been lifted, and I found myself smiling.
I always was the sentimental one, and Bill was the practical one. I smiled because I realized that, in this exercise of cleaning out, downsizing, and moving, I was channeling his spirit more than mine. People keep inanely reassuring me that he is still with me. Perhaps in this they are right, or maybe, like so many of those cards said, Bill taught me more than I knew.
Rev. Michael Piazza