Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paper Pushing, Part 2

There are so many things left:

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.


Carolina Linthead said...

This was heartbreaking and in turn heart healing to read, and no apology necessary, now or ever. My best to you, and my fervent wish that you find the space and the light and the air to give breath to your dreams and plans.

Bob G. said...

I don't think of it as "sad" either.
Unfortunate might be more apt a description.
I look at my life's losses, and I weight them against my "victories".

Sometimes, the emotional "accounting" is SO one sided in the LOSS column.
But then I think about how many items are in that GAIN column that I'm NOT even aware of (and go "unposted").

THAT becomes my "breathing room".

Very poignant post.

Do have a great day.

Slamdunk said...

Sorry that you are going through this Ann T.

Many years ago shortly after my mom had passed away, my father went through his house and gave away or discarded just about everything that was my mother's except for a few very personal items. He is just like that though--and it was his way of dealing with the grief.

Unknown said...

I <3 you. AND your courage. Its happening; the change and growth and the climb back.

Change is a commin. ;)

And maybe a train ride??????????????

The Observer said...

Ann T:
Even though it has been hard it has been heartening reading your posts as you attack this closet. I have been thinking of you as I consider my own situation.

I laughed at the income tax thing. I could only wish that I could say that all these things are *done*.

My mother is not sentimental about these things. She threw away much when my father passed away, and used his pack rat tendencies as a place to put her anger. I had to keep reminding myself of the situation, since I am way more like my father than my mother in this matter.

I am continuing to pray for you as you do this--I hope it went well today! You give me hope and inspiration.

Blessings to you this day, Ann T.
The Observer

Oh, and welcome back, when you are done. I missed you :-)

Yellow said...

Its good to hear how you are doing. Sounds like you are doing well. I do wish I could just go give you a hug. Keep up the work.