If you were to walk through my house you would begin to think that I'm either completely mental (which is a definite possibility) or have a strange sense of that which is sentimental.
There are so many things hiding in different spots around the house that would have meaning only to me.
In the refrigerator is one, lonely Miller Light. Ron drank Miller Light and this is the last can of the beer that was bought by my brother after the funeral. Ron made sure to drink all that he had in the house before leaving for his surgical appointment because he knew he wouldn't be allowed to drink afterwards. So this one can hangs out in my fridge. I won't drink it (although I really don't mind Miller Light), won't let anyone else drink it, and, if I needed a beer for some culinary experience, would go out and buy a new six-pack. He never touched it. But somehow, it means something to me.
In the basket by the bed is the shirt he wore to the hospital the day of his first surgery. I have not washed it. The rest of his clothes I washed and put away when I did the laundry for the first time after he died. Like he was coming back. When I switched his stuff into the spare bedroom closet I couldn't deal with giving away any of his "hanging" clothes. Anything that was in his dresser drawers I dealt with. But anything that had been hanging in the closet is still hanging there, untouched. Most of these clothes I never saw him wear. But I can't get rid of them. At least not yet.
On the fridge is a whiteboard type perpetual calendar. You fill in the dates. I've left it just as he last did. It shows an appointment with the surgeon before the actual date was set for the surgery, an appointment with my attorney to deal with car accident issues, and nothing else of any consequence. But I can't erase it. Please don't do me any favors and erase and update it. I need it there.
I've also left his pill case with the medicine in it stuck on the fridge. He'll never need it, but I can't seem to put that away.
Every day leaving and coming home I'm confronted with much that is Ron. Hanging on the wall downstairs we have a set of longhorn horns that span at least 5 feet. Those will never be given away even though they don't suit me in the slightest.
On the coffee table in the living room sits his copy of American Soldier. I'm sure I'll never read it, but it was the only actual book I ever saw him read. That's where he left it, and you can believe it's going to stay there. I just don't know for how long.
In a bathroom that I completely redid to make "my own" and removed his lighthouse stuff in the process, there are two reminders. There's a lighthouse windchime hanging from the ceiling vent. I don't know why I don't take it down. It just seems to belong there. There's also a lighthouse picture hanging on the wall. Over a year ago I purchased a picture to replace it. For whatever reason I can't hang it.
Down in the garage, if you knew what you were looking for, you'd find the box of his ashes. They're in the garage because that was his domain. That's where he found peace. You might wonder why they're in a box. Ron would have thought it silly and pretentious to buy ANYTHING to put his ashes in. So, I just leave them in their box. I haven't opened it. Can't make myself do it.
And lastly, and quite possibly the most bizarre memento, in the glove compartment of my car you will find a partial pack of his cigarettes, a pack of the gum he liked, and a lighter. I always hated that he smoked. I chewed the rest of every other pack of gum he had around. And I don't use lighters. But they're still there 16 months later.
Someday, maybe, I'll be able to get rid of these things. Maybe not. For now, they just hang around reminding me what a special part of my life he was. All of these things aren't Ron. They're just reminders of his presence. He was an amazing man that brought love back into my life and showed me what I had the capability of being. Giving these things up feels like I'm giving him up. And so I hang on to them. Am I hanging on to him as well? I suppose I am. None of these things are part of a shrine. None of them represent a daily fixation without which I would stop functioning.
I wonder what people would keep around to represent me if I were suddenly no longer around. What do I leave this world? You know what? I don't think it really matters to me, because 50 years from now when my family has to decide what to keep and what to give away, the meaning will be for them to find. Right now, I'll just keep putting bits of myself out there and hoping that someday there will be so many fond memories that they'll have a hard time choosing items to give away.
5 years ago