I’ll Pack Your Things

Posted: 8 May 2017 in observations
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If you’re here from Counting Chickens, welcome (or welcome back) and know that these posts are more about death and dying than life and love. Or maybe it’s both.

I’m the one who cleaned out your hospice room. I took down each photo carefully, saying names aloud like a litany. Your two brothers, both silver haired and older than you are. Your best friend, clad in denim and plaid, standing next to you against a desert cliff. You were smiling at me, watching me aim your old 36 millimeter, getting the focus just right. Your youngest and her family; her husband, their white-blond three year old, and brand new infant. I know you remember the day this one was taken, you with your arm slung over mom’s shoulders, settled deep into a couch in the 1980s. She looks happy here, dad. Like she hasn’t been in awhile. This one’s of me. I miss you dad, so so much. And here is my other sister, sunglasses and a hat at your old house in Wyoming. Your grandkids, here and here, and here. And RR, of course, she loves you so much. I take them down one at a time, fold up the ones in frames, tuck them into a canvas bag to take home.

Moving to your few possessions, I name the things I touch. Mom won’t want this blanket for a few days, I’ll put it in my bag. We ate almost all those jellybeans, didn’t we? I’ll leave your comb here and put your toothbrush with your phone and slippers. These are pretty flowers, dad, but you wouldn’t have liked their scent. I unstick my daughter’s drawings, folding her artwork into the trash, along with the hospice literature that helpfully told us what to expect while you died in front of our eyes.

I’m keeping my back to you and I feel ashamed for doing it. I’m a coward for not looking into your face again, taking your hand, and telling you I love you. In my defense, I don’t believe you are here, but that doesn’t stop me from talking to you. My hands are deliberate and steady even though I’m quivering inside and out. I tell you how I’m feeling, and I notice that my voice is higher, but quiet, with a definite shake, words strung end to end. I’m going to miss you dad. It’s too soon but I’m so glad you’re done. It was time to stop fighting.

I’ll just put the rest of your things here. And, well, dad, it looks like that’s everything. Not much was there? But so much.

 

 

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Comments
  1. Thank you for sharing all of this friend…i know it’s with a heavy heart…love to you all…

  2. Kim says:

    I’ve read you family’s blogs for years. My 94 year old grandmother just died on Friday. And I did what you did. I feel like for some reason I needed to find you writing about this right now. So thank you for writing it. You aren’t the only one you are helping.

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