What to Keep, What to Toss

Since we had a last “gift” on the 31st of March—a blizzard (thanks a heap, March!), we have been inside working on various projects. For me, it’s staying ahead of the housework and keeping things organized. As we now have a lot of stuff from my dad’s house in our house, we are working on ways to merge everything as seamlessly as possible.

My biggest *F*BAR has been keeping my side of the office desk clean and organized. I tend to pile things up that don’t need my immediate attention, and this always comes back to bite me in the hindquarters. So I finally decided to face that pile of **IDWTDWTRN I have ignored for weeks…ok, months.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it did take a lot of time and ate up a lot of manila folders. The biggest part of it was my “Keepers” file. This included cards I love, pictures I love, poems I love, and various mementos I love.

So—what to keep? What to toss? Will there ever be anyone else but me who will cherish the stuff I end up keeping? So I took a deep breath, and tackled the bloated folder full of “keepers.”

There were birthday and anniversary cards with Mom’s familiar loopy handwriting proclaiming her love for me. There were pictures of Mom as a little girl, a young woman, and finally, a picture of two year old me, sitting in her lap. There was a black and white picture of Dad skiing gracefully down a mountain.

There were beautiful sympathy cards from friends and neighbors who had known and loved my mother. There were birthday and anniversary cards from Dad, written in his graceful script saying how much he loved me.

While I kept some, I was able to let go of others. As I go along, I feel that those messages of love from the hands of those who sent them are not lost. They are the pen-strokes of love that are written permanently on my heart. It is enough to have read and absorbed the kindness and compassion from them.

Then, as there always is, there are some things that still pull me to them. This tells me that is not yet time to get rid of them. Now that the “keepers” folder has slimmed down, I can afford to give those last things house-room until I can let them go. Or not.

Before we buried my mother, I filled her casket with dozens of cards, notes, and some of my own cat cartoon drawings, tucked all around her. At her viewing, I heard more giggles than tears when people read some of the cards and notes.

So, sometimes we get to a place where we can cheerfully let go of those things we have kept for a long time. Sometimes we need to hold on to them until we are ready to let them go. And then sometimes we can take their messages with us; literally or figuratively.

*Anyone who has been or is in the computer and/or software business knows this acronym well. It stands for “F*cked Up Beyond All Recognition.”

*My own acronym for “I Don’t Want To Deal With This Right Now.”

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