Next Steps

July 09, 2006

I'm starting to take some "next steps" in my journey back from the land of grief. Some of these are mental and or emotional adjustments, while others are more tangible. The most tangible one to date has been the changing of my voice mail greeting.

Until yesterday if you called my home phone you were greeted with the message Michele and I put together just over two years ago. I managed to make a recording of it over the winter using some VoIP software as it is the only (known to me) recording of her voice. But I've delayed changing the message as it was one more tangible reminder that she is truly gone.

I've also started to think about the artifacts she left behind. I want to keep them all but I understand that moving forward means letting go of the past. For some time now I have been waiting for life to resume again thinking that I'd let go when that time came. Now I realize that only by letting go will I get the resumption I desire.

It will be a true test of my maturity to collect and pass on the things that Michele left behind that will only hold me back. I'm a pack rat of the worst sort; keeping mementos from twenty years ago in boxes that just get moved from place to place. I learned that by letting go of my anger and quilt about my sister's death that I could be happy and free. Now I need to learn that the part of Michele that is truly important - her love, her spirit, and her truth - will always live inside of me. Pictures, dresses, cards, and bits of jewelry may trigger fond memories, but they aren't truly necessary to keep her alive inside of me.

I want to get or make a small chest, and fill it with a few things that I can't part with just yet. Some things I'll put into a safe deposit box at the bank. And the rest, well, the rest I'll try and let go.

My love for her will last until I die, and being blessed with a good memory, my memories will last until then as well. But my relationship with her has ended, at least on the physical plane, and I need to release myself from the physical trappings of that relationship.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.