It had been a few months. So it seemed like ‘it was time’ to start going through everything.
Helen and Tony were married for 47 years. Yeah, things were rocky at times but she loved him and remained faithful to him to the day he died. And she was missing him more than she thought she would. She’d been putting off going through his things but needed to. She was moving into a smaller place and just couldn’t take everything. Her daughter, Angelica, agreed to help.
“Where would you like to start Mom?”
“I’m not sure.”
Helen began to tear up and wondered if she was ready to do this. Her daughter hugged her and they just sat for a while.
“If you’re not ready Mom, we can try again some other time. How about we go to a movie or something?”
“No, I’ve been putting this off for too long. Let me just pick a box and start.”
She began going through a box of her husband’s old things. Angelica picked up an old wallet. It had holes in it, was very worn and faded, and the stitching was coming out. She turned to her mother.
“Oh, this will be an easy one. I’ll toss this right away.”
Helen shouted, “NO! DON’T YOU DARE!”
Angelica, startled, looked at her mother, “But Mom, it’s just an old wallet.”
“No it’s not. When your Father and I were dating, he took me to Coney Island. He wanted so badly to win me something. And he did, a huge stuffed teddy bear. We’ll, I also tried one of the arcade games and I won him something, that wallet. He said it meant more to him that anything he’d ever been given. 2 weeks later, he proposed.”
Angelica smiled as her Mom cried, “I’m sorry Mom. I didn’t know.”
“It’s okay Sweetheart. I’m the one who’s sorry – for making such a fuss about a silly old wallet.”
“But Mom, memories are like that. They can take us back to a place or a time. Something that to others looks like nothing can help you actually re-live a memory, especially if it’s a good one.”
“I miss your father so much.”
“I miss him too.”
They continued to go through Dad’s things. There were other moments when as Angelica started to throw something seemingly insignificant away, Helen would run to stop her. They would stop, cry together, laugh a little, and move on. Not much was cleared out, but a lot of ‘progress’ was made.
Angelica, noticing the time, “Wow, we’ve been at this for hours! I think it’s time we put this stuff down and went out to eat. It’s on me!”
“Just one more box” Helen liked the feeling that they were getting somewhere.
She turned to a box that she hadn’t seen in years. It was filled with bibles, church bulletins, and what looked like bible study notes. Angelica looked puzzled.
“Whose was this?”
“It belonged to your father and me.”
“Huh? All the years I was growing up, you and Dad never really spoke about God or faith. We’d go to church every so often but never regularly. This looks like you guys were really into it once.”
Helen smiled, “We were. We each gave our lives to God just after we got married. We loved that church and looked forward to raising a family there.”
Suddenly, her face became troubled and pained, “Then, something happened. An argument that led to a split and well, we were very discouraged and never went back there … or anywhere.”
In shock, Angelica replied, “Wow! I never knew any of this.”
Helen, looking through the notes, “Yeah, this stuff brings back memories too. Guess you could say we were on fire for Christ … at the time. We were really happy too as I recall. But this was a long time ago.”
“Want me to save this box? I’ll put it over here for the stuff to keep in storage.”
Helen just shrugged her shoulders and without much fuss said “No need. There’s nothing here of any value. The bibles can go to the bookstore and the rest, just throw out. Now, how about that lunch you offered?”
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