19 November 2008

one thing

in the heavy-hearted task of cleaning my parents' place i was able to find long stretches of mind-numbing labor punctuated with moments when time stood still & i comtemplated pieces of trivia & ordinariness that weave the fabric of life with strong threads, often unnoticed until their absences.

fragments of my childhood - an old spatula, a favorite drinking glass - provided tangible occasions of memory. i found myself holding tightly to things meant for other places...but in my hand, as though they were glued fast. to let go seemed to let go of momma & daddy all over again.

i had no real need for most of what i sorted...others did & so they would receive. hard as it was, i had to be pragmatic in the process - i could not dwell for long in the world of memory, for the distance to my home & the circumstances of their estate warranted it. these practical matters became the crutch of my functioning in those days...

3 piles for 3 different charities

pick up--sort--clean--move on
pick up--sort--clean--move on...

until the washcloth.

hanging alone on the bathroom towel rack was a solitary white washcloth...the one momma had used to wash her face in her last moments at home before we left for the doctor, for the hospital, for the funeral home.

a simple white square cloth became my undoing that day...i was done. needed a break. needed a darn good cry.

rational or not - i didn't care - i tucked it in my purse & it stayed there until i returned to my home a week later.

i have never washed it.
it still resides in my closet.
& it contains many tears.


- A - C - said...

Very touching... and I sadly know what you mean.

Anonymous said...
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Renae said...

So glad you kept it, that you still have it. I am reminded of Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."


Catvibe said...

I wouldn't wash it either.

Big Hugs

somepinkflowers said...


i popped in to visit
and tell you thank you
for all the prayers
you have sent my way
for my dad.

you are an angel.

arriving here
i find such a loving tribute
to your own parents...

oh my...

your writing touches me so.
both my parents are 85
growing more frail
with each passing day.

i so understand the simple gesture of saving
One Special Thing.

how did you get so wise
being So Young and All?


i am now collection memories
while i still can.

Anonymous said...


qualcosa di bello said...

andrea...how solace & sadness can dwell so closely together, i do not understand...hugs to you

renae...a very apt parallel you draw! how is your dad??

cat...sisters of the heart we must be! hugs to you too. how's the painting??

spf...i do not even know where to start...i became very teary eyed when i saw your name here again~~ please hug your daddy & momma for me!!!!!!!!!!

paula...aw, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your writing is very touching. I send you strength and to your family.

qualcosa di bello said...

sally...much love to you & your dear ones too!

Anonymous said...

I'm listening so hard to your words... you've said it well. I have not felt this pain yet - and sometimes I am afraid that when I do, I will not hold up well. I want to be like that tree, standing beside a river of water, with leaves always green above, roots deep and strong beneath, unafraid of the storm.

But I'm not fool enough to believe I am a strong tree yet. And sometimes I wonder if I ever will be...

Stories and words like the ones you have written here encourage me. Maybe I will be able to lean into my grief, too, one day...