cleaning house: I take you with me

Each Friday, I post a passage from my own early days of grief. If you’re in your own early days, I hope you find some validation, and maybe even a kind of relief, inside my words from all those years ago.

This week, a post from somewhere in year three, just as I began weeding through things, not even preparing to officially move.


magic doorThere is a massive clean-out going on here today, completely unplanned. I mean, I’ve meant to for a long time now, but it wasn’t in my plan for today. Not really news-worthy. Just – matt would be psyched. He would also wonder why I’m holding even the small bits I am.

He would hold up something, I imagine now, and ask “why are we taking this across the country?” or “is this something you think you’ll use?”

Huh. I realize I just typed “taking this across the country.” There are indeed changes happening, though not right now. Preparations being made, thoughts moved, if not the household yet. Making the load lighter, picking tasks apart. Making all of myself lighter.

I read somewhere the other day, someone leaving a place they have loved, that they would not miss the magic of the place because they will take everything magical with them. I will miss this place, this evidence of our life. And I will take our life inside me.

I will take it everywhere I am.

I have lived here longer than anywhere I have lived since childhood. In the Before, we’d starting packing for our move. I was so happy to leave here. So happy to leave it behind, with all its flaws and annoyances. It would be something I thought of fondly, and fleetingly.

To leave here Now will be hard, even with the irritations piling up.

If I think too much of erasing even your old fingerprints, left in grease stains on the cabinets, I feel my edges start to cling. Like years ago, when my mother would go through bags of things I’d destined for Goodwill, pulling out each thing I’d bagged, saying “are you sure you want to get rid of this? But it looks so nice. You should keep it.”

This is different, of course, this evidence of our life is not a dress that’s nice but I never wear. It isn’t a candle-holder that has never been my style.

It’s where I look and see you, standing there.

It is also the place that housed me while I screamed and cried and stared. It is the place that has held my hardest and my most beautiful. But I suppose that is in me. It goes wherever I go.

If I sit too long, I will lose momentum, and all this stuff in bags will now sit here on the living room floor instead of being hidden in closets and in drawers.

Keep going. Keep going. A purge of what really never should have come in the door. Lightening the load.

Sitting outside, I find this, tucked inside a random box, a quote from Theodore Roethke:

I learned not to fear infinity,
the far field, the windy cliffs of forever.
What we love is near, at hand,
Always, in the earth and air.
What we love is here,
and what is here is home.


How about you? If you’ve started to think about leaving what was once your home, how’s that process for you? If you’ve left, did the magic of your shared home follow you? Let us know in the comments.