"It's Okay to Throw it Away" became my motto roughly 3 years ago. My late husband, bless his heart, had a hard time throwing things away. There was always an excuse ... "If we just clean it up, someone could use it." "We could sell it." "It's not broken." "I wasn't sure if you would want to keep it." The long, slow process of now cleaning through 20 years of accumulated junk has been no picnic. Thankfully, Richard has no emotional attachment to these things and is able to just toss things that clearly don't need to be kept. I also can cut ties and let things go. I just procrastinate. I really don't want to do it so I put it off until it can't be put off any longer.
Today, I had to clean out my dead refrigerator to prepare for the new one to arrive. I was throwing away all the expired stuff and things we just didn't need. All of the sudden, I found in my hand a small bottle of J. Roget Spumante (I know ... nothing but the best, right? ;)). It was actually dusty, even though it had been in the refrigerator. That little bottle has actually been in every refrigerator I've owned since 1990. It was a small gift from one of Dale's brothers when we got married. My hand lingered between the fridge and the trash can. Should I throw it away? Why should I keep it? It's not like he's here to open it with. Maybe I should keep it. I've had it forever. It means something. What? What does it really mean? It's just a reminder of what was lost. It's a reminder of what was once a good memory. Don't get me wrong, my wedding to him is still a "good" memory. But like that song says, "Now every memory is haunted." All the good memories inevitably lead me to the One Big Bad One. Even though I know I can't wipe out every memory, I also know that I don't need to hold on to material things in order to remember. "It's Okay to Throw it Away." So out it went. Throwing it away doesn't mean it never happened. Throwing it away doesn't mean I didn't care. It just means that I'm okay with the memory living in my heart and not in my hand.