A few years back, a friend introduced me to a book, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I remember really liking it…though I don’t recall at the moment if I actually READ it, or listened to an audiobook of it. I’d started watching a movie version of it at one point and didn’t get into it the same way.
Well, now there’s a new movie–A Man Called Otto. And it hit me harder than I ever expected. Or harder than I would have expected, until recently, as so many things are hitting harder.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a movie just really hit the way this one did. Suffice it to say that I readily recommend seeing it.
The other day, another friend posted a video link to a song How Do I Say Goodbye? by Dean Lewis. It’s got a couple lines that REALLY struck me…all the more when put with a photo of Dad and me from early in my Freshman year at BG.
“How do I say goodbye to someone who’s been with me for my whole damn life? You gave me my name and the color of your eyes. I see your face when I look at mine…”
At the grief group I’ve been attending…an interesting question came up last Monday. On the matter of WHEN to go through and get rid of someone’s “things.” WHY do we have to?!?
And it’s like “society” just tells us–wants us–to do that. Like it’s just simply something you DO, because that’s what everyone ELSE does. And maybe for some, it’s not a matter of choice–someone passes suddenly, and their apartment has to be cleared out by the end of the month or something. But other times…there’s not necessarily any real REASON to, except to do it for the sake of doing it.
No, the person’s not coming back; but why should one be or feel OBLIGATED to clear out their stuff if your situation doesn’t NECESSITATE it? Someone else shared that when they were cleaning out their parents’ old house–with siblings–it turned out that their Mom had kept everything of their Dad’s.
And I’m not talking about obvious stuff like literal TRASH, foodstuff, unsanitary stuff. But if your loved one had a bookcase–do you HAVE TO clear it/get rid of it? Or if you’ve already been living there and don’t NEED the “closet space,” do you NEED to clear it out? If you’re not gonna lose the house, don’t need to take on a roommate or tenant, where’s the HARM in leaving a room mostly as it was?
Everyone grieves differently. Everyone processes differently. There’s no time-table or one-size-fits-all for stuff. Etc.
But then, there are other factors; case-by-case and all that. Are you ever gonna wear their wardrobe of clothes? Are they still in good condition, where you could donate them for someone else to benefit from them? You may not be REQUIRED to clear stuff out, but maybe it could be a way, one last way for that person’s efforts to help someone else.
I went to church this morning. First time attending this one. I’ve driven past it countless times over the past 7+ years. Back in 2016 I spent a fair amount of time in their parking lot–there was a “Poke-Stop” in Pokemon Go. They even mounted a birdhouse-sized pokeball to “mark the spot.” And then last year, turned out that they host a GriefShare group. The one I’ve been attending. I’d considered checking out their Sunday service for awhile, but I have a laundry list of “issues” with churches in general, that I’m not getting into right here/now.
But having had plenty of time to contemplate it, having been in the building a number of times for GriefShare; for the Surviving the Holidays thing; and just having gotten a gradual sense of the place, it made it much easier for ME; not like I was walking into some strange new building and being overwhelmed and clueless on the layout and where to go and such.
Still a bit of a “gauntlet” on the way in of greeters…but I’d timed it so there wasn’t much time, so I did not feel bad in “keeping on going” and not trying to stop for conversation or such.
And then despite finding myself a seat in the back row and figuring to be there and then quietly slip out after; the GriefShare facilitator spotted me, welcomed me, invited me to sit with her and her husband, introduced me to a couple other people, pointed out a couple others, and generally…made me feel like I mattered? That I was not some interloper or intruder.
There also was no awkward “take a moment and greet those (strangers you’ve never seen before and will never see again) sitting around you this morning (and make smalltalk)” (I’m an introvert and generally do not appreciate such situations being foisted upon me).
ALSO no awkward “passing the plate” thing. They seem to have “dropboxes” around for offerings, if you so choose–but as far as I heard, not even an announcement or request TO use them.
Not sure what all the coming week holds. But I suppose as always, a day at a time. Though it’s still Sunday, I think part of me’s already “ready for the (next) weekend.”
C’est la vie and all that.