So on Sunday, Louise came over and we went down to the basement storage cage that I rent for $25.00 in my building. I knew I had a lot of books down there that I could list on eBay. But in addition to that, I also knew that I had some unsold crap from garage sales and flea markets, that I was saving for the next garage sale. Back when my mom was alive, Haley and she and I would have a garage sale once a year. And a few years ago, Haley and I rented a booth two Saturdays at a church on Union Turnpike where we sold used things, and even some new kids’ jewelry that we purchased from eBay in lots.
But then we got to all the stuff I acquired for a future of scrapbooking, stamping, and collaging. As difficult as it is to accept that I will never do that stuff, I can look at it and either discard it or see if it is fit for eBay. Then the bag of supplies from teaching: a bunch of staplers, hole punchers and construction paper. And lastly, boxes of sentimental items -- old programs from my days acting in community theater, old birthday cards and letters I have received, and albums of photos, many of which I will probably scan. I realize that I have become very un-sentimental. Those photos and cards are meaningful to nobody but me. And I won’t be around very much longer. And with every box, Louise kept asking “Don’t you want to save these?” Finally, I said “Don’t you understand I am dying? What am I saving anything for? To put in my grave?”
These things mean nothing to anyone else, and no one else has any use for them. There is nobody in the future who can look at them and have fond memories of me. Why do we save things anyway? I guess we save them to take out and look at in our old age, or maybe hoping we may see people one day and we can reminisce. Or maybe we save things to pass down to future generations, so that they can have memories of us. I couldn’t think of any reason to save anything.
Until 2004, I was an independent and active woman -- a former airline sales exec and then a high school educator. Then my body kept betraying me. I was finally diagnosed with ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease -- confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. With life at a slower pace, I learned to live a more conscious and mindful life -- buying, eating and other choices. I listen instead of talking, and I observe instead of running and rushing.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
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