Twelve file drawers of potential: mine. Mostly alphabetical. Haven't gone through those yet. Much.
Old dreams. Old plans. Many of them are still dreams. Still plans, even.
Four file boxes of income tax for eight years.
The years of the twist: I've sorted through those, and removed the emotional content. I have the letters, the journals, the drawings.
But emotional content still lives over those years, and every paper associated with them. Every page was mis-filed by my suddenly organizationally-challenged husband, held by him or searched for like an anchor in this life, somehow necessary. Medical reports describing him, plans funding him, records of his expenditures or the car he couldn't drive or the truck I drove him to treatment in, the truck he screamed at me in that his life was over if I took away the only hope he had. Papers on the house where he died.
You would think the screaming was a low point. Oh, no. It was a good moment. It was the moment that I knew his life before had not been in vain. That even though there was no right thing any more, that once:
There was a right thing to do, and we had done it.
I can truthfully say that this one screaming moment, in my truck, was the best moment, the least controversial moment, in four years. Because it settled my doubts. But it was sad. He wanted to continue in his profession, and he could not. He was angry because he would not see it and that was what I had to see. It was his better nature at war against the life he had left.
His anger allowed him to continue in hope. It left the rest of us with little to say.
So, just to rein all this inexplicable emotion in, I've hired a consultant.
Tomorrow I take four boxes of papers that apply to four years downstairs to meet with a wonderful, friendly, compassionate, but ultimately business-like person I know. We are going through the papers that should not be emotional. We will decide what can be pitched. What should be shredded. What should be kept for business purposes.
So this will cost me. Yet it is costing me now, to hang onto six copies of an insurance policy or a stray airline ticket that might be tax-deductible. It doesn't cost money to hang onto papers. It costs me a future. A place to put the tools of my ambition. Or to feature my potential.
Will my life be about the past or the future?
Will I run a museum of inessential data or a home?
Will I be able to separate the emotional from the factual?
I can't do it alone. I have to have help. That is what the checkbook is for. Money, for the good life. Not trips to the Riviera. But a functional life.
By discarding the non-essential, I preserve the essential. For two lives, really.
Before he was sick, he was part of every growth and potential I ever had. By discarding the non-essential, I make room for the essential.
Sorry if this seems so sad. I'm sad, but not so much. I think it was far worse before.
There's air in my apartment now. A lack of dust. Loved things show up.