23 April, 2009

How do you split a box of memories, the attics of your life?

What’s to be done with boxes of memories, of death and failure that scream so loud when lids are opened? (When were we this happy?) 

There I am in white, a ring of flowers in my hair, nestled in my long curls, each one having been twirled into place by my sister, so careful was she to get it just right. She told me later how abandoned she felt, me leaving her behind when we’d been having such fun. 

But everyone gets caught up in the joy of a wedding, even when it’s two kids practically running away from home, using each other as life preservers. My mother threw her hands up, my father said nothing. But in the end, they helped and supported me and treated by husband like family.

Unconditional love. Despite alcoholic dysfunctions and times of great poverty, I always felt their unconditional love. I always knew I could go home. And when I did, kids and lots and lots of stuff in tow, they were only too happy to have us.

Now my son’s left home in the big yellow rental truck and his attic bedroom will become something else. There’s already someone waiting to use it (such is the case of a large Irish family). And all those cubby closets filled with boxes are being emptied and scattered across my living room and kitchen. 

So many boxes. So many memories.  How do you split a wedding album? A book of honeymoon pictures? Of matching t-shirts and bandanas and seashells? 

How to divide baby books and calendars, baptismal gowns and booties? And her things? Her baby book that stops at age 2. Hair ribbons and sneakers, snugglies and nookies. A birth certificate. And death certificate.

So much of divorce is ugly. And expensive. So full of regret and failure over not having been able to get it right. But this part, these boxes and memories that can’t be split … there are no words for it. There’s no expense or failure, regret or ugliness. There are only memories boxed away. And no solution.

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