Why is it so hard to take a walk down memory lane? I spent the weekend immersed in packing, as we recently decided to move out of the house I swore would be my “forever home.” I set a goal to go through all of the boxes in storage, swearing I would not have it hauled to another home. I knew exactly what was in the majority of the boxes. Baby items that are no longer needed, house decor that doesn’t have a place, sporting equipment that hasn’t been used in years, and lastly boxes and boxes of childhood memories. Those boxes have had three different homes, and until this weekend I just wasn’t able to open them. I knew it would take me back, and despite being in a pretty good place with my grief, I avoided them. It was time to open them up.
I laughed as I looked through a few of the boxes. Why I thought I needed to hold on to every card that was ever given to me is still a mystery. I guess I have always been a sentimental girl, a trait that I inherited from my father. We both always felt a little deeper than the average person. I combed through journals I kept. A part of me laughed by the things that bothered me back then. Today, they seem so small compared to all that I have experienced since I wrote in those journals. I would do anything to go back and show that girl a picture of that boy she never could quite get over. I did get the last laugh with that one! Those boxes held more than one could ever imagine. It seems like a different life, and that little girl seems like a different person. That man standing next to her seems like a different man, different from the man who ended his life in late 2011. It still doesn’t always feel real.
The whole grief process continues to amaze me. Here I sit, almost six years after my dad’s suicide, still asking, “Did that really happen?” I think the shock of it all never really fades. Like a movie you continue to watch even though you know how it ends. It is moments like these that remind me that the grief process never truly ends. It gets easier, and the pain becomes less present, but it never fully goes away. Not feeling the pain would mean that I no longer miss the man that I see in those pictures. How could that ever happen? I will always miss him, therefore I will always feel the pain. It is a part of me now. The boxes have now been emptied. I kept the pictures, and the cards signed, “Love Dad.” They keep me close to him, and remind me of the time we shared. I let the rest go. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting, it means embracing the pain, and holding the memories that remain close to your heart….forever.