It’s not his fault that I’m the one with the long memory. It really isn’t. I’m the one who still retains connections to objects, that still sees importance in those objects and the memories they relate to, that still wants to cling to those memories. I’ll see something in the donation pile or something that has ended up in the trash that was associated with Ukiah in some direct or even tangential way and I cease up. There was little bathrobe that was Ukiah’s that was in the donation pile and I think my voice rose an octave.
“What’s this doing here?” I asked almost furious.
“It’s too small. It doesn’t fit her.” He says with a shrug.
“It wasn’t hers to begin with. It was Ukiah’s!”
“We never used it with him.” He said, thinking on it.
“Well it was too small and we used the towel with the lion head on it instead.” I said. And there aren’t any concrete memories of him in that little bathrobe at all but it doesn’t stop that association from being there. I left the bathrobe in the donation pile. The drawers in which we have clothing, toys, and books that we associate entirely with him are pretty much full to the brim. What was his, really his, the things that meant the most to him, the memory of him, we’ve kept. Other stuff, stuff that could have memories associated with both him and his sister we use with Loralei. The stuff that didn’t do either of those things we donated or got rid of.
I think if I had to get rid of those things now I wouldn’t be able to. The further away he gets the more I want to surround myself with him, to clutch things that were at the best tangential to who he was. I get why some people hoard things now. I don’t get dead cat carcasses or letting your house be infested by millions of cockroaches because you don’t like taking out the trash. But having piles of stuff because there’s a memory attached and each of those memories is Important Damn it! That I can understand.
Now, that I’ve just honored what would’ve been his fourth birthday yesterday, I want to surround myself with piles of Ukiah. But I can’t just the same. It’s in a drawer for a reason, because if it was out all the time, I’d be paralyzed by it. Better to keep it locked away to only bring it out on special occasions. Actually I’m not sure what the right answer is. In situations like this, there really isn’t one. You do what you need to, to put one foot in front of the other.
Which is why I’m so into promoting/telling people all about George Mark Children’s House. It fills this need inside me, this hole that was left by Ukiah’s passing. The more people I tell, the more I feel like I’m keeping him, his spirit alive.
You know my soapbox about this by now, so I’m not going to repeat it. Just keep thinking about George Mark Children’s House. Thank you.