The Laundry Hamper

Z has a bedroom full of her life’s possessions in boxes and bags and scattered on the floor.  Most things were boxed up for college.  It is still a disaster in there.  When I brought her things home I opened her bedroom door, put the boxes on the floor, and then left.  I didn’t even leave myself a path in her bedroom.  In order to get in I have to big step over boxes and piles and bags.

I have to step over all of the things she thought were important.  Her things trip me up.

I needed a new laundry hamper for my room.  The old plastic hamper had started to give my clean clothes static and I was basically wasting money on laundry sheets.  Everything I touched shocked and stuck to me.

Prepping for college, she had purchased for herself a new hamper made primarily of canvas.  It was exactly what I needed, so I braved the trip into her room and took it.  I removed the tags and employed it for my own use.

Since she’s been gone, I’ve had a problem that mostly feels like I’m invading her privacy.  She was nearly 19 and she had a right to her secrets and she is allowed to have her own things.  She purchased that hamper with her money, not mine.

The hamper was hers and I took it.  I took it from her and used it my room for my clothes.  She never got the chance to use it for her things.

It was a test drive for me.  I know I’ll have to dive into her room to sort out the boxes and bags.  I look at that chore looming ahead of me and I dread the next step to close out her life.  Her physical life.  Her things and stuff and treasures and necessities.

I take her laundry hamper and put my toe into a pond I don’t want to swim in.

It’s just a hamper.  It’s just things.  They are not her.  I am not giving her away or stealing her life.  She will not be mad.  She won’t complain. She has not misplaced anything.  She won’t ever notice anything is missing from her room.  She won’t demand answers for the whereabouts and locations of her life.

Her things are just things now.  They aren’t hers.  They aren’t really mine, either.

0 stars.  Would not recommend.

The Good and The Quiet

Leading up to Christmas, I was fully embracing my plan to lean into the situation.  Except I was doing it in an uncomfortable and foreign non-Amy way.

Normally I plan everything.  I plan on paper with cross references to lists and other papers and bind them together with timetables and any additional necessary accoutrements.

This year we had a vision, but none of the requisite planning.  I couldn’t do it.  I was busy with work and mentally prepping myself for the first Christmas without my baby, my child, my love.

We went to the grocery wholly unprepared for any sort of recipe.  I purchased 9 bricks of cream-cheese and 16 cans of biscuits.  Bacon with no particular plan, sausage that eventually went into my freezer and 6 tubs of hummus that are still in the garage-arator.  I had food with no recipes in mind.

But we were going to cook away the absence.  Her memory would be folded into chives and jellies and a very expensive jar of local honey.  What we lacked in recipe we doubled in a plan for self-care and pots and baking dishes and fresh ingredients.

Last year, Christmas was scattered about at the last minute.  My parents were both infirm for the holidays and we ended up going to their house in Gaylord rather than our planned trip.  Z and I cooked the entire Christmas dinner (for 20, I think) in my mom and dad’s small retirement sized kitchen.  She and I stashed baking dishes in broilers in the basement and on the grill in the garage.  We used every dish my mom had.  Z and I owned that meal and it was amazing.  Z peeled and chopped and timed like a champion.  I couldn’t have done it without her.  We were a team.

This year, without my cooking companion (?), I sort of milled about.   I didn’t have the plan or direction I had last year – which is why I had 16 cans of biscuits.

I knew I over cooked.  We spent two days in the kitchen over cooking.  I knew I was going to have excess, but we ended up with enough food for a corporate event.  I had 24 guests and could have easily brought in triple that and sill had leftovers.  I had a cheese fondue that globed up (total fail) and no one even noticed it was missing.

We had a good day.   It was lively and bright and over-the-top.  I got a little drunk and made sure guests drank from crystal beer mugs and Waterford wine glasses.  We busied our brains and conversation so as to notice the missing as little as possible.

Later we trekked across town to have our dessert party and games at my cousin’s house.

It was Joyous and Rompous and an overall good time.

December 26th.  Everyone was gone.  My parents left for home.  Jay and Alex went back to work.  It was so quiet.

I was prepared for December 25th.  I knew it was coming and I faced it and raged against it.  And in all of that pomp and circumstance, I’d totally neglected December 26th.  The hardest day of the holidays, as it turns out.

December 26th was just me and my dog and the remains of a box of wine and the mug Z brought home for me from Disney.  December 26th was the day I didn’t plan for.  December 26th is the surprisingly sad day.

It ended up being just like my birthday.  The day I didn’t think would be that hard but jumped into a heartache that I didn’t expect.

The quiet crushes my soul.  I can hear my thoughts when it’s quiet.  I’m alone with me and lately I’m not good company.  At all.

December 27th was a vacation day for me.  I went into work anyway.