Friday, March 21, 2014

Holding On

Throughout my life, I have always been attached to inanimate objects: When I was a baby and well into my childhood, I carried around a blanket; At Taft, I had a disproportionate fondness for my bathrobe; In college, I wore the same Patagonia vest every day regardless of the weather or my outfit underneath….

My attachment disorder began to wane when I met Todd. He wasn’t a fan of clutter and couldn’t understand why I was holding on to mixed tapes or notebooks from 11th grade French class. He believed in a “zero sum” policy and explained this to me one Christmas when he gave me a new bathrobe, “Now you can get rid of that robe you’ve had since high school.” And he was right. It felt good to shed some items and embrace new ones. 

However, since Todd’s death, I find myself clinging to his possessions with such a reluctance to let them go or lose sight of them.

A few weeks ago, a friend stopped over for some coffee. She helped herself to a mug from my cabinet. I saw the mug from the corner of my eye… “Oh, not that mug. That’s Todd’s mug.” Todd used that mug pretty much every morning for 8 years. I don’t know. The thought of someone else using the mug just didn’t feel right.  While the boys were napping yesterday, I organized my mug cabinet and safely “retired” Todd’s mug to a higher location. I don’t have too many tall friends so the likelihood of someone taking it down is slim to none. Was it a productive use of the only free hour I have in a day? Probably not. Did it give me peace of mind? Yes. And, I guess that’s all one can hope for after losing someone.

Todd didn’t have many pet peeves. But one of his weirdest pet peeves was seeing a collection of hats or stuffed animals (which were usually cats) in the back window of someone’s car. At the time, I sort of agreed with him.  It was only after he died that I deduced a theory on those drivers: What if those hats or stuffed animals belonged to a loved one who’s no longer here? What if those drivers were like me? A recent widow driving around wishing your best pal was still upfront with you? I keep some of Todd’s baseball hats (his favorite ones) right where he left them – on the dresser in our bedroom. But, one of his hats has a prominent place on the dashboard of our car. At the very least, the hat in my car is a good conversation starter for passengers who wonder why or how I’ve become a Kansas City Royals fan.

Tomorrow, I am trading in that car for a new one. There’s no doubt that I will be happy with the new car and that the boys and I will be much more comfortable. But, I just can’t get past the fact that the steering wheel I will be holding on to won’t be the same one that Todd held on to for all those years.