I've moved twice since David passed. Both moves necessary, emotional, and exhausting. I moved into this house 3 months ago. I had unopened boxes from both moves and at some point I just stopped unpacking. Those that remained were shoved into the guest bedroom with the door shut. From time to time I would consider opening the door and organizing the crap I piled on the bed and in the closet... Until this week, it was only a thought. I had completely forgotten what was even in the boxes I kept hidden away.
As I opened the boxes of items that sparked memories of what now seems like my "previous life," a nauseous feeling swept over me. I took deep breaths and forged on. One box contained books... financial books I was reading and saving for David to read when he got home from Iraq, and a journal. My teenage journal. My journal of "I got to see David today," "I think I love David," and "I told my mom I'm going to marry David" days. Seems like such a long time ago. Again, the nauseous feeling came... more deep breaths. I read the journal from start to finish before I continued through the room.
Office supplies, photos, CD's, and a really old computer. I had several flat rate envelopes in the box and I couldn't remember why I had kept them... I was about to throw them away when I realized an envelope had papers in it. I held the envelope upside down and out came the pre-addressed labels and customs forms... To David... From Me. I sent David a package and an envelope filled with letters every week while he was deployed. He looked forward to them every week. How could I forget what the envelopes had been for? I froze for what felt like minutes but had probably only been a few moments. Again, I took a deep breath and just starred at David's name printed on 20 pieces of paper. In that moment I felt like I shrunk a whole foot because the sadness was just... so heavy. I stuffed the papers back into the envelope and put the envelope aside.
In the midst of binders and papers to reorganize and file, I came across a thin red folder. I didn't recognize the red folder and without hesitation I opened it, quickly thumbing through what looked like school notes. How old are these? The date on the last page: January 8, 2008...my handwriting. I went to take in a deep breath...and...nothing... my lungs forgot how to work. My eyes we blinking back tears and my mind fought, fought hard to hold on to something... anything. It was only minutes after writing those notes I got the phone call that changed my life... the day David died... the day I never went back.
These boxes revealed traces of my previous life... a life I loved. A life filled with joy and promise. It was like searching through the clues of a cold case file... evidence after evidence... all leading to nothing. A dead end. To January 8th. Everything I was familiar with stopped that day. Every plan for our future... gone. Cruel evidence.
Our life together now isn't what we ever imagined it would be. But I'm trying my best to make it one that I'd be proud to one day recount. I had put these items into boxes knowing that one day I'd open them... So again, I did the same. I put the items that drew so much emotion out of me into new boxes... Maybe one day I'll feel differently about them. Maybe one day they won’t hurt me so much.