Organizing and showcasing a ‘life’ is a job I never thought I would have, let alone doing it two times. I remember after Madeline passed working on photo boxes, scrapbooks, albums and a trunk to keep her other items… then there are the totes of clothes and life put up deeper and harder to get to. It is not a daunting or scary job, it is just surreal and puts memories and stories right at your fingertips. It is strange to see progression and changes in drawing, writing, skills, facial expressions… life and age. It’s probably the only way we can do all of those things, maybe we should do it before our kids die. It is a job that puts reflecting some on the big scale… there is a hell-ova-lotta reflecting that is done when going through piles of a life.
Last Friday my friend and I helped my ‘Other Side’ Sister pack up her old home to move to her new home. I was designated as the baby entertainer for the little guy who joined us, though I am pretty sure I found a baby who isn’t into me… anyway back to story. We helped Laurel go through stuff, helping her dump some stuff and save others… but mostly we listened to “But… ” or “Oh wait…” (or Erin don’t throw away that LeBron Sprite…). We got to hear the stories of a life lived well. We heard about pictures, experiences, notes, silly stories and cool NBA dads. I had an allergy attack and was in a weird mood (story of these past couple weeks) but it was a really good day. I asked Laurel, or maybe I told her, I was going to bring some of her pile with me and scrapbook and organize it. I got excited to have this task, and the be trusted with a pile of priceless and irreplaceable ‘life’. I took my thoughts to Michael’s and started this weekend. I was in a reflective and deep kind of rollercoaster weekend… why not add to pile this in and see what happens. Turns out I was right where I was supposed to be, in this very spot. Isn’t it weird that it still surprises me? It has been a great reflective time to see another live well lived…
Imagine touching another child’s kindergarten work… seeing similarities and differences. Imagine getting to know Myles in a way I didn’t get to. I get to see bits of Laurel we might have forgotten to share in our hours of chat and life fixing… and Marcelle before I met him. I love getting to see twin baby pictures, first paintings, stories and notes… it brings me back to my darling little chickpea. Myles work is so happy and bright, like Madeline’s, he is rainbows and sun and cute self portraits. I have loved every painful and hard part of this… I have held on to the pain and weird this project has given me… and carried it next to my good and solid part.
I am really proud and honored to get to put these moments together, and get to see them. I know that all the feelings are a part of this, a part of my sad and a part of knowing someone else’s. I also know what a comfort it was to have Madeline’s things in order and in a spot that I can go straight to a story or a moment. I love showing people her pictures and sharing the moment and memory behind, whether it was what she was doing before or what our family was doing and where we were in that picture. I love feeling things she touched. I am sure her DNA is long gone from her drawings that she touched and that all of the dust in our house is without her dust add-on’s… but these things give me a piece of her that is gone.
So… my job was to organize and house moments and memories and experiences for another momma… my ‘other side sister’… I hope she loves her organizedish pile… I already do.