I know they’re just “things”

From my journal dated January 21, 2003:

Calculus homework awaits

I need a graphing calculator for my math class. We had bought a new one for Jason not too long before the accident; it’s still sitting beside his calculus or physics homework on his desk in his room. I’ve debated and debated what to do. It doesn’t seem practical to go out and buy another expensive calculator when there’s a perfectly good one just sitting in the other room.

It’s just so hard to think about actually going through Jason’s things or using something that was his. It just seems so wrong. I guess it still seems like he should be back soon, and that I would be invading his privacy to just take something that belonged to him. I know it’s just earthly “stuff” from an eternal point of view, and he certainly doesn’t need it any more; but it’s so hard to reconcile. It’s another step to admitting he’s really gone.

Working on homework

It’s been hard just to take math this quarter. Math is so closely related to Jason in my mind. He loved math – since he was a little kid all the way through college. He topped out of the math classes at the community college. He tutored other students in math.

I know it may seem silly. It’s just a calculator. But I remember so vividly the day we got it. So clearly, I picture Jason sitting at his desk, working on homework and using that calculator.

So many memories are tied into all this “stuff.” Things – like this calculator – trigger memories and such intense emotions. They’re just things, but they were Jason’s things.

© 2011 Rebecca R. Carney

4 thoughts on “I know they’re just “things”

  1. I was irritated with my husband this evening when I found that he had used one of my mom’s heavy dish thingees. I put it up high in the cabinet for a reason and have told him why I never use it. It may be silly to some. I took very few of my mom’s things and I want to be in control of how long I keep them. It bothers me that the rest of my family doesn’t get it and doesn’t respect my feelings. I suppose it’s because they never really lost anyone.

    I enjoyed reading your article. I felt understood.

  2. My son died three and a half years ago, at the age of 38. He left behind a wife, five children, parents, sister, niece and nephews and many others.

    He had lived in a house that they were buying, but because of many financial factors related to his health, they moved into a rental unit about six weeks before he died. In their house, he had been preparing to remodel the kitchen. He had bought a sink and counter top. After moving, they didn’t need it. After his death, his widow and our daughter decided they would use these items to re-do /my/ kitchen. Well, Life continued to happen around us and their remodeling project never actually took place. The sink was “stored” on our front porch.

    Last night, my husband and I realized that sometime in the last two days someone had stolen the sink and some other stuff that was nearby and would bring a fair price at the scrap yard. Suddenly, the loss of that ONE stupid THING devastated me. I can’t even express the amount of grief and rage I felt at the thief who had stolen that /piece/ of my son. I had passed it every day for way over a year, and it was “just” a thing that sat on my front porch… Until it was gone, and then, it was the loss of my son: sudden, unexpected, unchangeable… “Just a thing”?? I don’t think so.

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