Sunday, February 17, 2013

The last dress in the closet

I’ve been living in this house of mine for longer than I have ever lived in any one place. We moved here when the family got a little bigger, when my gal Liz and I decided to move in together and get married. We lived together there for about 3 ½ years before the disease she had, M.S., took her last breath. Most of her earthly belongings, her furniture, her writings, her computer, her car, her clothes, eventually went elsewhere. Her ashes were gently laid in a spot in Assisi; I mourned her loss.

Over the years, the darkness in the tunnel became less or I just became adjusted to living in the tunnel. I kept my home dark, a man cave. Over the years I moved furniture around, changed the carpet, painted here, added there. It wasn’t my dream home, but it is home. For now. And for the last 15 ½ years.

A few months ago, I was consolidating things in a closet and saw her wedding dress. I never had the heart to part with it; who could want it? Like her diamond ring and her pearl ear rings – they were hers.

But the dress, enshrouded in a shiny red garment bag, there it was peeking out from a corner, telling me, “It’s time.”

So I took it off the rack and put it in my car. And there it sat in the trunk, in the dark, for days. And days. I knew it was time but I didn’t know what to do with it. Someone could have probably wanted it. It was a pretty dress, white and black. But I still didn’t know who. Or where. So I drove around with it.

She’s been gone now for 12 years. I only knew her for 14. So the time is coming when she will have been gone a longer time than we knew each other in this life. Games we play with time. Game we always lose. But we never stop trying to find a way around the inevitable. A fix.

I don’t know what happened to that last dress in the closet. One day it was just no longer there in the trunk of the car. Gone. Just like her.

There are still things around to remind me of our life. And there are other newer reminders of the life I have made since her passing. Someday someone will have to deal with all these things, I reckon. I wish I was strong enough to let most of it go while I am still around. My friend Hank has learned to take the stuff of his life down to the necessities with a little indulgence to art and beauty. He also can travel for months at a time around the world with a carry on. I struggle to pack a carry on for a two day business trip.

While I might sound like I’m on a downer, it really isn’t that. I’m just thinking about the passage of time and the race we all run. And all the stuff we pack into the carry-ons of our life for meaningful purpose.

My closet is lighter now. My heart is fuller. It’s all really alright. It is what it is. For now.

In memory of Lizanne ~ Feb 14, 1953 - Feb 17, 2001

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