Saturday, January 03, 2009

two new traditions

I love traditions. The familiarity of knowing what to expect is comforting, especially now. I, also, love how they connect you to others...sort of like a club's secret handshake.
This year, as I was packing up our Christmas stuff, I was remembering how hard it was to open that box. Looking at all our ornaments that were tied to those golden memories of 'life before' broke my heart. Seeing Jeff's tattered and old looking Santa hat that he wore when handing out the gifts on Christmas morning. I was wondering if it would upset me as badly next Christmas. I had wished that there had been some sort of comfort as I had unpacked all this paraphernalia usually associated with joy and together-ness. So I decided to provide for myself. I wrote myself a letter and put it on the top of the box. It sounds so silly but I am hoping that my words to myself with offer some solace and comfort. Words from someone who understands. Words from someone who loves the kids. Words full of well-wishes and hopefully, hope.
The other tradition I am starting is not nearly as sentimental or sucky. I am cosntantly attempting to rid our house of 'extra'. It feels wonderful to cleanse and purge. Since Jeff has died, I find it even more satisfying. I think because I don't have him standing behind me saying, "What? Why are you getting rid of that? We may need it someday!" or "That a collector's item! I got it in a case of Alexander Keith's!" In actuality, I haven't gotten rid of anything of Jeff's. I can't. I still want him and all my memories of him held close. But my junk, outgrown kid's clothes, unused containers, extra sheets, etc. Out the door. I don't need it. I feel dragged down by it. Trapped. So the week after the New Year, I am starting Dump Day. Anything we haven't used in the last year goes. To friends who may need it, the Sally Ann, the recycling depot and if needed, to the garbage dump. I have already started sorting and cleaning. I have to do it in the dark of night when Liv's observant eyes are closed unfortunately. I would so prefer to not have to be 'sneaky' about this but she has inherited her father's love of the 'just in case' and the 'I had that when...' I just wish I had the truck insured so that I could take it all in ONE load!

P.S. Sara, our plymouth rock bantam chicken, has started laying! Tiny weeny little eggs! I took a picture of Lucy's regular lovely brown eggs, with Sara's teensy white eggs and one of Lucy's mammoth double yolkers (the one on the left if you can't tell). We had to have an 'egg fest' the other day as we are getting overrun with these ova!


Jenny said...

Hi Jackie,

I found your blog a while back, lost the link, and am very happy to have refound it. My husband died unexpectedly in April of last year (how nice it is to say "last year") and I have a two-year-old daughter. I was dreading putting away the Christmas decorations this weekend, but I really like your new letter-in-the-ornaments tradition. And I'm exactly with you on throwing things out, except for Steve's. It feels so nice to be unencumbered and organized.

I also appreciated your previous post -- it was beautifully written, and a place I recognize so well. Thank you for putting it into words so eloquently.



K. said...

Jackie, I think the letter is a wonderful thing to do, as is the cleaning out. These kinds of traditions are so much better than resolutions, no?

Ashley said...

We are doing the big declutter this week as well - doesn't it feel great! I'm almost scared to see the size of the pile when we're done but can't wait to be free of the crap!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jackie,

Happy New year! I used to leave myself complimentary voicemail messages! Whacky, but it was nice to hear some kind words about myself!


Caela said...

Hi Jackie,

I found your blog through another and have been reading for a while but never commented before. I am 23, when I was 21 my dad died suddenly leaving my mom in sort of the same situation as you are. It sucks-plain and simple, I feel for you and for your kids and am so sorry that you all have to go through this. My mom also started purging things a few months later and it made her feel a lot better too. Just like you said, it felt good for her to be able to throw things away that she had wanted to for years, but that my dad wouldn't let her.

Wishing you all happiness and healing for 2009!!!

Rach said...

A good clean out is so good. However I am bit like Jeff I am afraid... Like to keep things 'just in case..'

And goodbye 2008. At times you were the crappest of years, the shittest of years for my friends and I. But out of such crap we have all found comfort in the company of eachother. I am a much happier person for getting to know you in what was a bastard of a year xxx

Marissa said...

this has nothing to do with your post, i just don't have another way to message you (should i look for you on facebook?! i love me some facebook).

i just wanted you to know i thought of you today. i was watching tv and something someone said struck a 'aha moment' within me and my thoughts immediately went to you & the kids.

i wish you weren't in my life for the reasons in which our lives interconnected (Matt) but i AM glad they did connect. you've taught me SO much Jackie, probably without even realizing it.

thank you.