"Weekend at the Love Junkyard"
I have saved an email that I received a few months ago from a friend of mine. It is one of the things that I like to go back to a re-read. It is beautifully written, and sad, and sweet. It is about her trip to go help her Mother clean up her apartment. Her Father passed away quite a number of years ago and his things were still there, right where he left them.
I conjures up many feelings for me, the most overwhelming of which is confusion. I cannot imagine loving someone so completely. I don't know if I'm jealous or terrified.
It was a productive, but heart wrenching visit. I can’t explain the poignancy of going through all that stuff with her. These days she is largely a sleepy, non-combative version of her once mighty self. She seems to float through her days staring off into space, absentmindedly drinking watered down ginger ale. (don’t know why, but she adds water to it.) Then we open her pajama drawer and she has his pajamas there all tangled up with all these old ones of hers and I say gently, ever so gently, “Hon, we have to move these. They can’t just stay there, you have to make room for all your real nightgowns that are hanging in that bathroom” She suddenly sparks up and says very firmly, much the way I know her to be “I can’t. I can’t move them.” Just seeing the life in her eyes when she’s protecting that stuff is enough to make me put my head down and cry for a week.
I managed to convince her to move things to one place, which was a momentous achievement. (“Daddy would kill you if he saw this mess”) Part of the appeal for her, I think is seeing him in various ways around her apartment. As if he is just out for a walk or something. His gloves and hat in the hall desk, his coat hanging in the closet, his shaving kit on her bathroom counter, his food in the cupboard. She’s never changed his name in the phone book, because of the spasm of relief she feels when she gets junk mail addressed to him. Most of her bills come in under his name. It’s crazy. Crazy, and so heartbreaking, I can hardly think about it.
She found an anniversary card from him (32nd anniversary) as we were sorting out the table beside her desk. It was a Thank You note. Inside he’d written,
This is a terrible card. I bought it, in frustration, because all the anniversary cards said so much, but really nothing at all. This one seemed more fitting.
I cannot imagine this world without you. You are everything to me.
My love, you are my life.