So I decided it was time to clean out my closet. This in and of itself is hardly post-worthy. It was a matter of necessity – I couldn’t walk inside. I started with the five drawers that are in there – not that this made the path any clearer, rather it was a manageable place from which all other organization could start. I am nothing if not optimistic.
My top drawer is for underwear. My own unsubstantiated belief is that most people put their underwear in the first drawer. Call me crazy, but assuming one has a reasonable level of hygiene, clean underwear is the kind of staple one relies upon regularly, ergo its premier location. The point is – I go into that drawer a lot. I know what’s in there – despite the lack of symmetry and color coded rows. There was a lot to discard – when articles of clothing have lost so much elasticity that they become caricatures of themselves, they need to go. I will also cop to keeping some jewelry in there (which I will now move if you’re thinking of breaking into my house). The point which bears repeating – I don’t expect breathless moments that make no sense to present themselves as a result of scrutinizing the contents of my underwear drawer.
To abbreviate this little tale - once the contents were emptied, two things remained that I swear to you I had never seen before. A sealed envelope from the funeral home that handled the arrangements for my mom and the eulogy I had written. The words I wrote for my dad were buried with him; I didn’t really want anyone to have those words but him. I had chosen to keep my mom’s – not sure why. What I did know was that over the years, I had misplaced it, and had torn apart my ‘spaces’ looking for it. Could I have put it in the drawer and just never seen it? Possibly – but the words are written in purple ink – they show up against a white backdrop and would be just about impossible not to see. In a silence that engulfed my head like a wave, I read it. I remembered every detail of those days. In the sealed envelope? My mother’s wedding ring and the little gold earrings she wore daily. Mommy’s wedding ring. My sister has dad’s, I had mom’s. Why did I not see this before? That I would have it in my possession and not have held it? If I close my eyes, I can see it on her hand. I can almost feel her skin. Why did I find this now?
I have no doubt that there are many logical explanations for this, yet I can counter each one of them with a strong conviction that I have been to the bottom of my underwear drawer many many times before, and these things were not there. Lori reminds me that there are some things that just can’t be explained, and I believe that to be true. Is this one of those events? Perhaps. It begs questions like why now? What’s the message? Am I missing something that I should be seeing in these moments of mine? Is it just the universe’s way of reminding me that there is no talisman that one must hold that is more powerful than love? Maybe it was just mom giving me a ‘atta girl’ for finally cleaning out my closet.
“Love is the vital essence that pervades and permeates, from the center to the circumference, the graduating circles of all thought and action. Love is the talisman of human heal and woe — the open sesame to every soul.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Her wedding ring is now on a chain on which I have a charm from my sister. I hold them both in my hand until they’re so warmed that their essence travels through my skin, traveling to a space in my heart that is kept for those I miss – guarded and protected by walls I have tried to make impregnable. There is no surprise that my mom would find the one entrance – she was always persistent.
As the sky reluctantly lightens and the air holds this peculiar pre-snow quiet that forces you to listen, two birds alight on a leafless branch. They are not going to break the spell with chatter and idle conversation. We hold our respective places until I’m too cold to stay outside and the Sirs are no longer inclined to patiently wait for me to come inside. I whisper “Hi” and “Thank you”. I wonder about all I don’t understand and under my breath I add “Please”. Please let there be so much that defies explanation; let me graced with so much time that I can continue to be amazed.