Mum and I went to her house last week to start sorting through my father’s belongings. I’ve been looking forward to this for years – throwing away all his old, stinky clothes, and the few other possessions he had. I thought it would be cathartic – another nail in his coffin, so to speak, and another way to exile him from my life. It was, although sadly the catharsis was lessened because my mother had already thrown away the worst of his sh*t when he went into the nursing home.
Thanks to the Wonder Therapist I was prepared for this to also be triggering. Mostly it wasn’t, although there were a couple of things that threw me for a minute – things like his old bucket hats (which reminded me of his foul moods), the smell of his wardrobe (and of him) and some skanky old toiletries, like shaving gear. Thankfully the worst of the triggers – his dirty, stinky fishing gear – had already gone, so I didn’t need to deal with that.
Strangely I kept a couple of things. Yea, I know, you’re thinking I’m crazy, right? It wasn’t anything triggering. Nothing that really even reminds me of him, just things I like. A pale blue shirt I bought in France, a couple of old cravats I never saw him wear (they’re in beautiful old vintage fabrics), and an old hair brush I’m not sure he never used (also vintage, with a fleur-de-lis pattern on the handle).
This whole process of sorting through his cr*p affected me more than I thought it would. Throwing away his eye glasses, realising he would never need them again, made me a bit sad – not for my father, but for what’s left of a person’s life in the end: a few garbage bags and a suitcase filled with old clothes to go to charity. I don’t know why I find this sad, but I do. Somehow it seems that 91 years of life – nearly 92 – should amount to more than that. The Wonder Therapist says it’s not uncommon to start thinking about this – about the meaning of life, our legacy, and what it all means. (F***ed if I know, that’s for sure.)
It’s amazing how exhausting this whole process was – even though I’m not saddened in the usual way, I’m still exhausted.