You can go home again, but sometimes the new owners have painted the house a different color, and they cut down your climbing tree to expand the driveway.
I wrote this yesterday, but I wanted to share it because it’s still hurting me. I expect that this will only get worse with time.
January 24th, 2013, 3 years, 3 months, and 3 days ago, my partner Valerie died. There was very little warning. She had just started her PhD in Writing at Binghamton, and I went up to visit her. The change from seeing her several times a week to rarely was getting to me. Our plan was that as soon as my lease was up, I would move there with her.
When I got there, she was seizing on the floor. She died 2 days later. It was a drug interaction between on old medicine and a new birth control.
I was visiting her to propose.
I’ve been an emotional mess all day, and I can’t stop weeping (there’s so more pathetic sound than a grown man crying). I think that today was some important milestone for me and Val, but I can’t remember what it was.
I’m losing my memories of her, one precious moment at a time. I have trouble remembering her voice, her scent, even the little giggle-dance she’d do when she was happy. I can’t remember which tattoo was where. She’s becoming a dream, where you wake up in the morning and only recall wisps and ideas. She was real, but she’s becoming imaginary, and there’s nothing I can do.
The things you remember hurt less than the things you forget.
Note: I think that I remember what that milestone was. Four years ago yesterday was the day that I first told Val that I loved her. I still can’t remember for sure. It doesn’t matter, she’s still fading away.
Earlier this week I visited my father. He is moving to Las Vegas next month, and needs a lot of help packing. I mean, a lot of help. There is a ton of junk.
Much of the stuff is my mother’s and that’s the hardest to get rid of. My mom loved doing crafts, and there is a lot of her old knitting, needlepoint, and jewelry materials. My mom’s belongings must be the hardest for my dad to get rid of.
The hardest for me are the old photographs.
This generation will never deal with this. Their photographs are online. They don’t take up physical space. You don’t have to decide what lives and what dies. I found so many pictures that made me misty. Pics of my mom, picks of a much younger me with friends that I don’t get to see anymore, pics of me and my brother before the world got its hooks into us.
I found a picture of me and Valerie and it broke my heart. Of course I brought it home with me, because I obviously like to torture myself.
Shoeboxes and albums of memories. Pictures in frame. I can’t bear to part with them. It’s like abandoning memories. It’s turning your back on your life.
Maybe I’m just a hoarder in the making. Maybe I’m a sentimental fool.
Maybe, but I don’t care. I won’t leave them behind.