I’m in the middle of a house project, renovating my basement, and I was forced to get through things in storage, in my crawl space and closets. As I was pulling things out and going through bins, all of you, my readers and clients, came to mind. You often hire me to come alongside you and unearth things that have been hidden for a while or in storage and here I was doing the same type of project. Some things are sentimental to us and bring up memories. This last week I came head on with a basement full of memories and new milestones for me. I’ll warn you before you read on and say that this blog gets pretty personal. I don’t mean to shock you and I don’t often get personal with the public. My hope is that it would help any of you who are in a similar situation or state of mind.
My progress in the basement reminded me that time does need to pass as we grieve losses. Whether it’s our health we’ve lost, a loved one, or a marriage, grieving is essential. Sometimes the organizing and purging part can’t take place until time has passed. Sometimes we aren’t ready to go through bins of stuff because the memories and pain are raw. Give yourself a break if that is what you are up against right now. Let time pass. Revisit those boxes, bins, or project at another time when you are ready.
In my case it was a bin of cancer things. After going through breast cancer in 2011-2012, I packed away all the things in the house that reminded me of my surgeries and treatment. It filled one large canvas basket. I saved everything because at that time I clung onto what got me through. I saved all that brought me comfort and all that taught me how to make it. The weeks and months after cancer, I felt guilty that I wouldn’t purge and let it go. Every time I tried I failed. I would end up looking at it, and then would put it back in the closet. Now it’s March 2014 and guess what? I let it go just five days ago! I pulled it out while doing my basement project and looked at it one last time and dumped it all in a garbage bag. The bag went straight to the garbage cans behind my garage. I breathed a sigh of relief and realized time helped me heal and all I needed was time and perspective away from my battle of cancer to be able to accomplish letting it go.
As I was letting go of my cancer bin, I began storing something new—my wedding dress and wedding album. My divorce was final this week. I’m not ready to pitch these items or donate the dress just yet. The pain is still too close to home and time hasn’t lapsed enough. So I packed them up and shoved them far back into the crawl space. They’re safe and sound, bothering no one. As I put these boxes away, I didn’t feel guilty. I didn’t feel like I was in a rush to purge and let it go. Instead, I was encouraged to know and realize that once enough time has passed, I’ll be able to pitch these as well.
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