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 afterwards 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 being pleased with me and I’m okay with it.
Originally published by JohnsMom on the Alliance of Hope Forum for Suicide Loss Survivors and reprinted with permission.