How Great Thou Part

I pull the dresser drawer and dump the contents onto the floor. I pull another drawer and dump and another and another.

I stare at the pile of clothing and assorted things.

I am on the umpteenth purge of my old life.

Only I have forgotten what this old dresser holds.

It is a gorgeous mahogany dresser. It is one of the very first things that we purchase as a married couple. A four poster rice bed accompanies the set.

It is where our babies, just toddlers, climb their way up – cheerios and sippy cup in hand to watch their morning shows. It is where they sneak under the covers and snuggle close to one another content with all that matters in their little world.

It is a safe place. It is where memories are born. It is the beauty in their beginning.

It becomes our guest bedroom furniture when we move from a queen to a king.

I stare at the mound before me.

I grab at the first pile. It is a painful realization for that particular drawer holds my honeymoon keepsakes. All the bridal shower goodies that were opened with joy and excitement and given by those who loved us with hope and promise.

I force myself to stuff the hefty bag with these things.

I stop for a moment. No, it’s not what you are thinking. The piece which is difficult for me to part with is the beautiful, white, negligee that my very, conservative Catholic mother took great delight in shocking me with at my shower.

I always loved that quality about my mom! So conservative (so she seemed) but such a realist with a joy of life in so many ways.

I toss it from pile to pile. Taking it back out of the hefty bag.

I just can’t part with it. I struggle because I need to purge everything only I can’t let this one thing go.

And then, in the middle of all those dumped drawers I find something – well two things actually.

I grab a white, crumpled, fabric handkerchief and a wooden shoe horn.

I shake my head and smile.

It is a ‘Godwink.’

When my uncle was having memory problems and living with me, he stayed in the guest room. My uncle was a supremely special man. A great gift in my life.

I do not remember putting any of his clothes in the dresser when he was with us.

Yet, somehow a part of him sits with me while the tears I gave up for Lent come cascading from my heart and up through my eyes.

I shove the rest of the stuff into a bag.

I want to keep that one silly, white negligee. I want it because it is my mom. It is her sheepish grin while she looks quite satisfied with something provocative though she is anything but. It is the shared laughter between my sisters and sister-in-law. It is the love of my family. It is not his. It is mine.

So here I sit. It is where I climb my way up – nighty and hanky in hand to watch my life. It is where I sneak under the covers and snuggle close to those who have left me to be content with all that matters in this world.

To remember that there will always be beauty in our beginnings and forever pain in letting go.

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