Grief in Sorting

March 16, 2009

Starting to work my way through our house one room at a time. Sorting, cleaning, and getting ready to sell/rent our house (not a great time to be a homeowner moving out of the country!). It is simultaneous torture and catharsis. Since I am a die hard pack rat it is a very good thing that we move every three years and yet it still amazes me how much we (ok, mostly me and the kids...Adam is not a pack rat) accumulate in short periods of time. The sorting seems to be more challenging this time around. It is compounded by the fact that the kids are aware of what's happening so I frequently find "helpers" sneaking things back into the house. But the most challenging part of it is the grief that sneaks up on me. Sorting through books and I will find a book with an inscription from my dad. Photographs. Even year-old Kit Kat bars in the pantry that he sent me almost a year ago for my birthday. Drawings he sent to the kids at various times. In the midst of the piles are these objects that spark memories, tears, and connections. I can't bring myself to even move the last letter he sent to me. It is still sitting on the same shelf in the kitchen where I read it after returning from my last trip to see him in the hospital. This recent sorting process had made me realize that the grief feels different than even just a few months ago when it felt so intense and raw during the holidays. Still sad, still clinging to any connection to him, but not quite as searing. I shouldn't be surprised by this, but I am. So the sorting feels a little different with this upcoming move. Grief has added another dimension to it. Good to let go of things we don't need/use anymore, good to re-connect with things that have meaning but have been hidden in the clutter, good to the see the final results of a clean and organized space, yet still hard work. Lots of hard work.
morninglight mama said...

Oh, I didn't pay close attention to the title of this post, and suddenly I found myself crying as the meaning of the post kind of snuck up on me. I am somewhat surprised to be able to say this, but at 33 years old, I've never had any experience with the death of a close loved one. And I'm terrified of it. My heart just aches for you and the loss you've suffered, and the thought of going through this scares me so. I SO appreciate you sharing your feelings with us all, because you're so honest and thoughtful and reflective.

Dawn said...

Thank you for sharing...You are in my thoughts!

Francesca said...

This is quite moving. Sorting out belongings is a little like looking through the layers (happy and sad) that make up one's life...

Lynnie said...

I wish you the best of luck getting through this process. I lost my father quite unexpectedly when I was 25 and I remember having to say goodbye to so many things in the way you're describing, and how much it hurt. Good luck with everything. I know it's a hard time.

The Solley Five said...

how on earth does a kit kat bar go unnoticed for a whole year? That wouldn't last a day in my house. I bet you'll still be finding these hidden reminders 10 moves from now. They will always be there.

Cami said...

I feel the pain of the hard work. Man, it's a lot. Let's add emotions to that, shall we? Hang in there.

Corinne said...

I'm having my own tears, reading this. You always have such wonderful words to put to these complex emotions. Thank you for that.

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