I wrote about this on my personal account for my #myforevertbt. I do not do these posts for the likes, I don't do them for the comments... I do them for many reasons and those two not being the reason. I took a very long time to write it out and really dug deep and tried to live in that moment. It conjured up (on a smaller scale) those same feelings and emotions I felt while diving into all my sisters old things. The post did not get many likes and I was wondering if it was too long, if people just didn't care or if people are over all my personal diary entries that I so often divulge on the social media platform. It bugged me. BUT I gave myself a reality check and a smack in the head and realized how that is not what I do this for. It truly doesn't matter if I get 1 or 100 likes. I think the content and subject of this post is so important. So many of us hold on to keepsakes that were once our lost loved ones. Many times I have been told to get rid of my sisters things, what is the point of keeping them, they are objects, material and hold no value, but they hold value to me and just like the "likes" on my page, it doesn't matter. There are no rules. We get to decide what helps us through a loss (as long as we aren't harming ourselves). So, though some of you are friends with me on my personal account and below is a repeat, there are many subscribers that aren't and I thought it was important that they read this.
The subject of “material possessions” keeping them and holding on to them, came up last week.
It seems that with death a lot of us hold on to things of our lost loved ones. They become more than objects, they haunt us, they comfort us, they travel with us, they stay hidden, they are brought out for rituals or worn.
When my sister took her life, we didn’t go home we stayed at a family friends house. Our other family went and cleaned her room and put all her possessions in bags. Her room was completely rid of anything that had to do with her, carefully put in the garage for when we were ready to look through them. It took many many years for me to go through my sisters things, my parents were unable to do it. In fact it was about four or so years ago that I remember sitting in my parents basement (something that it took me forever to do since it was right next to the tree and I couldn’t look outside for reasons only few know i can’t explain) with dozens and dozens of trash bags, by myself, going through her things, put in charge of figuring out what to get rid of. How could I get rid of ANYTHING, all of it was hers, not mine. It felt wrong to make that decision. Her clothes, shoes, forgotten diaries that missed her hands when she decided to shred all the others. High school letters, post cards, birthday cards, pictures, books. Drawings, bags and bags of make up and hair stuff. Anti-aging lotions that she grew to be obsessed with towards the end of her life.
It was all hers, she touched it, she used it. I smelled her t shirts, so many, over and over again searching for a trace of her. Hoping her scent soaked into the fibers and remained held between the patterns. I touched the hand written letters and in all honesty, read some of them addressed to her. The ones where people poured their love and affection for her in ink. Love in between the words.
I sat there.
I held lipstick, the ones that painted her lips, the ones that held the imprint of her groves. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I wanted to be somewhere else. I wanted to dive and swim between all that was her. It pained me to think of someone else owning anything that was apart of her life. No one could have her.
I watched VHS tapes of our childhood because my mom wanted to get rid of the ones we recorded Disney channel or tennis on. I sat there traumatized by her voice. I didn’t know whether to love the moments or violently grab the tears from my eyes for they couldn’t escape quick enough. How happy we use to be. It didn’t seem fair. Our lives once untouched. We laughed and loved. Nothing was like it is now.
Purses with old movie stubs, candy wrappers, coins and chapstick.
I couldn’t even get rid of those.
I felt as if I was invading her privacy.
Things I was never meant to see.
Her perfume that I still have tucked in a corner of my cabinet. I smell it every so often and that day I sprayed it all over my clothes. I sat in it. It’s funny how scents produce memories. How something that you smell can bring forth images and sounds. Every so often I come across someone that smells like you and I go out of my way to tell them, as if they’re connected to you.
I did all this up above in mostly a day. It was a traumatic, transformative, chaotic and panic ridden experience. It was caked with dust and life. It was as if I was there and i wasn’t all at once. It was a blur and so clear. It was painful and poetic.
I do have to say, back to my original point and why I went into this frenzy of a memory that I didn’t really get rid of anything. I went to my mom and told her I couldn’t. I told her I felt that it was not meant for anyone else and those bags needed to go back to the garage. Maybe one day. One day. But my point is that there are no rules. No one gets to tell you what to keep or not to keep. You get to choose. It is not up to anyone but you. I wear these necklaces anytime I fly. Anytime I’m in trouble or sad or need back up or need to feel like I’m not alone. I wear them for friends and family. I play with the angel and ring in between my fingers and hold on to the cross that you questioned but believed in at the end. They are pieces of jewelry but they are you. They once laid on your neck and moved with your breath. We get to choose, the ones who need it, the ones who hold on to a piece of what was once theirs.