Editor's note: I wrote this for myself as a release. Now that I've had a few days and all is back to normal, I thought I'd post it. I know I'm not alone in these moments and I want to make sure others know they are not alone either.
I'm in the middle of cleaning out and redoing a room in the house that has gathered a lot of memories over the years. I really thought it would be a simple matter of throwing stuff away and organizing other things, but I hit a girly snag today. I found a stack of pictures. You can't exactly pick up a stack of photographs and not look through them. I've got a nice storage box set aside for them to go in now, but I still can't stop myself from looking at each and everyone of them before they go in that box. Up until today, all the pictures have brought back smiles and warm fuzzy feelings. After all, what idiot would take pictures of unpleasant memories? The trouble comes with hind sight.
I was making great progress this afternoon. I'm up to filling trash bag number 6 and the donation pile has really grown. Then I pick up a picture of the house we built 7 years ago and out of nowhere came a flood of emotions I usually keep boxed up and filed away in the very back of my brain. You see, that house is a standing monument to every stupid and short sighted decision we made for 3 years, and I find myself holding not 1, but an entire stack of pictures chronically the process of building it. I really wish that when something was going to hit you like a metaphorical ton of bricks that there was some sort of warning sound that went off first like it does in cartoons. That would at least give me time to get to a tissue box, find some chocolate, or maybe remove myself from whatever is bringing on the bricks. Instead I end up sitting the middle of the room, bursting into tears because of something that was over and done with 5 years ago. It is like an emotional grenade was hiding in my basket of stuff just waiting for the day when I would try to clean. Is it any wonder I put these things off?
I always hope for a time when those memories will have no power over me, but I don't know that that will ever come. Moving from that house was like a death in many ways. I knew it was time to go, we are in a better place now, but still the feeling of loss dwells somewhere deep inside me waiting for days when life has me venerable. I guess today was one of those days. On the upside, they are getting fewer and farther between, and knowing that makes it much easier.