Today I revisited my old life. I ushered in the new year with a wish to be uncluttered and fresh. It started when I lost my rent check and tore apart my desk to try to find it. I didn't, but realized that I needed to get my life organized. Yesterday I spent the day in the office, tossing the things that no longer have purpose for me. I looked in every folder in the file cabinet and read every slip of paper with a number or note scribbled on it. I copied phone numbers I care about in my daytimer, and filed business cards that are worth keeping. At three, I thought I was done. Then I looked at two file boxes that hold the bulk of my writing, excluding morning pages and journals. And I thought, tomorrow I will go through that.
So today is tomorrow. I cleaned out every inch of my closet and my drawers upstairs resulting in three additional bags of clothing for the less fortunate and two full bags of things to toss. What remained was a stack of stuff from my old life that has no place in my new life. Yet these things were once precious to me. Photographs, greeting cards, notes and memories of the life I had before. Out of nowhere, I was hit with a great sense of loss. Have I really grieved this loss that I feel? My children, my marriage? As much as I am happy to be done with it all, a piece of me remembers that once it was my world - with all its misery and joy. And I thought it would last forever. When it got sick I'm not sure. But the disease spread quickly and terminally. One day I woke up dead. Numb - unable to feel the sunshine on my face or wind in my hair or water the thirsty plants. I had no idea how I got there, but knew I was buried alive, and I couldn't breathe and didn't much care to. But I began again, to dig myself from under the rubble of a marriage fallen in ruin and a life that no longer served me. The survival instinct is stronger than I knew. So I went through each picture and each card. Saved the most precious - disposed of the others and let the tears come again.
And tonight, I approached the file boxes stacked in my office. The first stack of papers was dated 2001. I read through the words I'd written back then, and realize that even that long ago I felt trapped and a need for freedom. There is much more to read, but I no longer fear it. I will just feel whatever it brings and let it go.
Tonight I said goodbye to that life for good. I know that the worst is over, and though I still have details with which to attend, I am alive. I breathe and feel the wind in my hair. I want my plants to thrive, and I have found love in a heart that was once numb. With a new adventure before me, I think myself born again, and it is good.