A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about closure. At the time, I thought that if I posted about closure then it would come more easily — and maybe it did. It’s hard to tell sometimes, when the memories will take your breath away and when they will let you rest.
I made a new friend on twitter last week (oh really, can you just let it go). It’s strange to think how easily friends can be made on social media outlets, maybe I’ll conquer that post on a different day. Back to my new friend, Lisa Bonchek Adams. Turns out, on top of being really funny (which is always my first qualification), she is a writer (am I that predictable), a thinker, a survivor. I read a post of her’s recently about her mother-in-law. It greatly affected me, I won’t tell you about it here — you’ll need to visit her site and read it for yourself. But, the name alone, Barbara’s Closet, sent the closure I wanted retreating to a far away corner.
I’ve gone through most of my mother’s things and sorted them for family and Goodwill and me. There are a few things remaining that I’m not quite sure what to do with.
When my grandmother was 81, she moved in with my parents. My grandfather had passed away just a few short months earlier and given her own weakened health, she couldn’t live alone. She lived with my parents for about seven years before she passed away. I remember going in my grandmother’s closet at my parents house — it never dawned on me that my mother never really cleaned that closet out. I don’t think my mother ever gave away all of my grandmother’s clothes. There was always something of her in that closet.
A few months ago, I was cleaning out my mother’s dresser. I came across a pair of pajama’s that I immediately recognized — but they weren’t my mothers. They were my grandmothers — her favorites. I remember seeing my grandmother in those — light blue, satin, pants and a shirt. My mother kept them in her drawer all these years — 13 to be exact. What am I supposed to do with them?
The things left for me to sort in my mother’s closet don’t really amount to much, but they were hers — her favorite things. It was hard to box her things up and give away — clothes, shoes, purses. I haven’t known what to do with the things she was using when she passed away. You know, her purse with all her stuff in it — driver’s license, lipstick, compact, the tissue she was using. The clothes I had just washed for her are still on the dryer. Her make-up, perfume, a half empty bottle of scope, her hairbrush. What am I supposed to do with these things?
I think my lack of ability to “throw out” these things isn’t necessarily tied to an emotional state or memory. I’ve never been one to tie my memories to objects. I tie my memories to senses — a smell, a feel, a taste. But in the case of my mother’s most recently worn clothes, her hairbrush, her purse — I think that my mother might need them again. I keep thinking she’ll need them.
So, for me to do closure, I suppose I need to actually do something with those clothes on the dryer. I need to toss out that bottle of Scope. I need to give away that last purse.
Closure is funny isn’t it? I guess you can get by, get on, get going without really being completely accepting of the circumstance. Maybe closure isn’t about accepting and moving on, maybe it’s about remembering and staying whole.