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.