Grinding A Life

SunsetThis weekend I really stayed on task and worked through four more boxes of fossil records. There remain only two small cartons of papers that are stowed on the staging table in the garage and a small carton in my living room that I think contains photographs. I will probably break open the photograph carton tomorrow and see what is in it.

I ground cancelled checks, statements, and tax returns dating from 1972. I think Wife kept every bit of paper that came into the house. I threatened several times to just deal with the old records myself. But her fear of losing something that was important overruled my desire to clean up after ourselves and she just became too anxious for me to proceed.

I refused to do it with her, because I knew she would agonize over every decision. I didn’t believe the job warranted that. She knew what I thought. I wasn’t argumentative about it; I just thought it was something that needed to be done.

Well, with her death the job fell to me anyway. I am determined to get through all of that old stuff and deal with it. Most of it (over 90 percent) will go away. A few bits and pieces will be kept and those are mostly things that have her words on them. I do miss her words.

As I worked through all those papers, I recognized a lot of things and places from the past. There were receipts from favorite eating places, records of trips taken, records of work done. As I passed them through the grinder I couldn’t help feeling that I was grinding up the record of our lives. That familiar old feeling of melancholy came over me many times over the weekends as I worked on this humongous project. It felt like I was grinding up not just my life, but our joint lives.

I can say I don’t like how that feels. I already feel the loss of Wife deeply. No day passes when I don’t think of her at least once. When I’m at the office, I expect a text of telephone call asking about my day or when I’m coming home. I honestly think that’s part of the reason I now prefer to work at home. When I’m here at the house I know she won’t be calling or sending me a text. I know that she’s gone and not coming back.

On Saturday, I found myself thinking “I really don’t like feeling this way. I’m going to have to find a way to deal with this and move on.” Heh… I wish it was so simple.

Yet I recall one day during my clinical depression thinking nearly the same thing. That time I got up and started moving around. It marked a watershed in my recovery. I wasn’t done with the depression (or it wasn’t done with me), but I began my recovery that day and moved forward most days after that.

I think new things are coming for me. I’m going to finish this job. I have a few more cartons to deal with after I finish the last three that have unknown contents. But I know the contents of the remaining cartons. For them, it’s a simple matter of opening them and dealing with the contents. It will not be so difficult as the fossils nor will there be the same sense of history associated with the contents.

I need to make another pass through the books in this house. I can eliminate half of them or more. They should go to someone who will read them and wants the library. I might want to read many of the books, but I no longer want a physical library. I want a lot lighter load.

Furthermore, I want that load to comprise the things I use and will use. That’s a fairly short list and I think I can reduce my material possessions by half or more and still not quite be there. But I can work on it.

I have a target to work towards. That’s a good thing.