Today I began The Purge. I've had it in mind to take some of Amanda's favorite shirts, books, and oddments, and put them into her big steamer trunk. This plan had not yet been implemented because it meant two things:
1. I'd have to clear out the crawl-space to find the trunk.
2. I'd have to decide what to put back into the crawl-space. Or, read differently, what to throw away.
The third implied portion of that scenario is deciding what's important enough to go into the trunk, which bears heavily on items 1 and 2. So it's a suck/suck situation, but one that has to be started at some point.
Today was that point. I pulled out box upon box of her old things: baskets of old t-shirts that I'll probably discard because they were, after all, in storage; boxes of her writings; boxes of her schoolwork; boxes of randomia, and boxes full of magazines. And that was just one side of the crawl-space--turns out the trunk was on the other side. Grrr...
So anyway, I kept it together for the most part, but I did break down in tears when trying to preserve all of her actual creative writings. Amanda was deeply secretive about her creativity, and often either left her work unsigned, or signed it A.P. Liddell. It's pretty tough, though, to decide to keep something if it has no name on it. Was it for a class? Was it someone else's writing that she just printed out? For all the world I wish she could have left me better instructions on what to do with all of it.
But then I was left with the realization that her secret nature would truly have wanted it all destroyed. I can't do that. What I did do was to dispose of all her college works except for her Theatre 407 (Direction) materials. I didn't even open the high school boxes, but was able to clean out enough space from the college & work boxes to at least boil all that stuff down to one box.
So I've done something that seems unthinkable: I've boiled 17 years of education down to 2 boxes, neatly tucked away in the attic. It makes a lump rise in my throat just to write that. I mean, this was my wife. She represents 15 years of my life, and I've just put 17 of hers into 2 boxes that will probably never be seen again. How freakin' horrid!
But to have not done it would be equally unthinkable. I can't live in a house full of ghosts, and these things, absent the woman, have no real significance other than as space-fillers. And we is well outta space, lemme tell ya.
The emotional roller coaster left me unable to concentrate on the task of filling the steamer trunk. I did at least pull it out and take a quick glance through its contents. The good news is that it's less than 50% full, so deciding which of its contents to keep shouldn't be quite so daunting. But that will have to wait for another day. Maybe with some darvon.