My son had been home for a visit the month before he died. After he died, I found a food bag/wrapper in my car. I hadn’t seen it before, but as soon as I did, I realized he had originally left it there as a joke. We had a lot of those private family jokes. Of course, discovering it when I did took the fun out of it. It served as a reminder that we really did have those interactions. If I had found it sooner, I would have laughed, texted him and thrown it away.
So, this small bag with the empty wrapper took on a lot of meaning for me. I left it in a special container in the car (thank goodness I don’t have to explain that here!) and it became known as my “memorial garbage.” My husband was especially careful that nothing happened to it during a car wash or servicing and I had to physically check that it was still there myself afterward for a long time. My close friends knew about it.
This weekend, we were cleaning some things out of my car and I realized that the story of my memorial garbage was more interesting and important to me than the actual garbage. I know that John would not have been pleased with me keeping any garbage in my car. I can see the look he would have given me! I looked at it and I knew I could let it go. My husband reassured me that I could keep it if I wanted -but I didn’t want to. I was ready to keep the story and not the thing. I could feel my son is pleased with me and I’m okay with it.