Last night I saw a box with negatives and a few photos. I took it with me when I went to bed and used my husband’s light tray to examine the images; many negatives were more than twenty years old. I went through every set and kept none. I tossed and recycled, then shredded the negatives to dump as trash.
It was something my husband didn’t understand, “All of them?” Yes, they were from a time that is no longer part of me. My momentary regret was to be unable to return any to the subjects of the negatives. Too many years ago to know if that act would do more harm than good.
Why last night, or rather at four this morning? The time had come.
During five years, my then mother-in-law gifted to me a single-car garage’s worth of crafting supplies.
Her husky laugh and long white hair, those enormous eyeglass frames from an era abandoned; that she loved me as her own child—not in the Santa-reindeer set or dozens of brilliant gift bags at the ready with assorted tissue paper. And I could not use the items set aside. I knew plenty of people who would. It took a year followed by an abrupt need for change for me to realize she isn’t in the stuff.
Let go already. And with release grief pounded me. Saturated with all she was, I saw there was nothing familiar left in the boxes.
This morning, it was lightness as I tucked the light table into my husband’s office and returned to our bed.
I have known enough stunning moments to recognize the average ones. One cannot create anew when all that surrounds one is the old. Make space, make space.