A Moment in My Life – Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Jeannie Yee Davis
Not everybody likes purple. For years, I was a closet purple lover. Donny Osmond was the only person I knew who openly owned his love of purple. I love Donny, but I wasn’t brave enough to stand on this side of the closet door. Did it make it right or wrong? Who’s to say? There is no right or wrong answer to this color question or pretty much for anything else that requires a preference, including memories. Who has enough clout to determine what and how many memories we should have on this planet?
I want to know. Why? Because someone asked me this question recently. He asked me when was the right time to offload his wife’s things that he had tucked away after her passing. I didn’t feel qualified to give him advice when I had everything of my late husband’s right where he left them.
A couple of months after Mark’s passing, I met with my high school girlfriends, who, in their attempt to console me, one suggested that I needed to move away. My mouth dropped, and I nearly fell off my chair at the food court as I blurted out, “Why? Why do I have to move away?” She said because there were too many memories. Her words slapped me in the face. I had been fighting PTSD, which left me an empty slate. I struggled to recall the teeniest memories with Mark, jotting them down as quickly as the memory returned before they vanished again. So, hearing her suggest that there were too many memories felt like she punched me in the stomach and flipped my insides out.
That lunch was a learning one since I was the first widow in our group, and we were having our minted discussion of the kind. And, it made sense why she suggested such a disturbing idea. For her and her husband, death was final. Once the person is gone, they no longer exist. There will be no service, no burial, no pictures, or anything except a cremation. They will destroy any footprint of their existence, and there will be no mention of them again. Life moves on for the survivor. I left that gathering heavyhearted with a dismal sadness, but I finally understood why she did not attend Mark’s Celebration of Life. Her way wasn’t easy to fathom, but who was I to judge?
There is no right or wrong way. We don’t have to agree, but we need to understand where we are coming from and bridge the gap. It is essential to communicate and share our feelings and thoughts, which helps to respect each other’s views. Some might want to forget all or select memories, while others don’t want to forget a smidgen of memory. Some people remove all personal effects even before the funeral.
In contrast, others tend to these months to years later or never at all. I’m glad there is no one-size-fits-all to address this. Same with mourning. There is a time to mourn and heal, but the healing needs to happen. It is imperative that we eventually move on and live and live fully. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Every moment we remain in mourning, we are not living.
I told my friend that he would feel it when it was the right time for him. Until then, nobody decides for us when it is time to move on or that we have too many memories.