Sometimes writing is like a rifle shot. A single bullet sent with targeted force at the reader. Other times it seeks to reach a broader audience with content that is more generalized.
And sometimes we write because we need to do so. To get an idea out of our heads. An idea that needs a new home. A new place to dig.
Over the last 3+ years, I lost my Mom. And my Dad. And what is striking is how different their passing became after we mourned. Months and months after they died.
Of course there were many differences in their lives. They were very different people. And while they lived together for 22 years, their lives were not intertwined in matrimony beyond 15.
They were very different people. With some initial compatibility. But not enough. Not enough to stay together.
And one of the key things that made them different was the things they kept. And as a child you don't appreciate or seek to understand the stuff of your parent's lives. Not really. Until they are gone. And then you get sentimental about items that you've walked past for years in the hall closet.
Jewelry they wore.
Their favorite scarf.
A military name tag.
A college memory book.
It even includes silly paperwork like the report from their driving test.
But you go through all of it as part of the remembering process. And have to decide what to do with it all. While very little of it has any practical value, each item is difficult to drop into a trash can. I found it easier to place items in a grocery bag. An interim place. Prior to dropping that in a trash can later in the day.
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Now if you've read this blog before, you'll know that the principle driver is to take ideas from the idea book or active mind and release them to the world. Well, as I write this, I am still waiting for the idea to take hold. To find an opening in the writing to make itself known. No luck yet.
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So I mentioned that my Mom and Dad were different. Different in what they kept. And skipping forward, let me say that Mom kept it all and Dad kept almost nothing. Mom gave us a house full of memories. Dad left us a few small file cabinets.
After Mom died, there were months and months of decisions. What to keep and what to donate. What to release back to the earth. It was hard to do. But it was incredibly rewarding to touch and experience her life in this way. To learn about her life as a family voyeur. A thousand ways to say goodbye. Every time I touched a piece of clothing or a trinket from a trip she took. To Africa. To China.
After Dad died, there were similar decisions. Sure. But the decisions were no where near as compelling. No where near as powerful. Because Dad keep next to nothing. Over 70 years on this earth and so little saved. No trophies. No old letter jacket. No golf clubs. His old baseball mitt.
You see Dad was divorced. He didn't have a garage. But to me that's no excuse. He should have kept a few things. Things that mattered to him.
So they could matter to me. Upon his passing.
So here's the idea, I guess.
Keep your special things. Somewhere. Not as your way to live in or focus on the past. Rather as a way to remember important moments in your life. And as a way to share those special things one last time with those who want to remain close.
After you've enjoyed your life and are ready to begin the next.