Monday, June 28, 2010

Shredder Therapy

This past weekend the Pumpkin and I had a garage sale to get rid of stuff we had both individually and collectively outgrown. A vast number of the boxes of stuff were delivered to my doorstep about a year ago by Renfrew. He assesrted the boxes contained things that he just knew I could NOT do without. As I unpacked boxes to sort and price, I realized that the contents were not, as Renfrew had asserted, MY stuff. No, they are clearly jointly owned items of the daily life I left behind -- at the same time I left our joint home. My repeated assertions were clear.

Or I thought they were clear. I did not WANT or NEED any of it. He could sell it, give it away, use it, bronze it or burn it -- it was part of what I had been evicted from. Just like he ignored so many truths that were mine over the dying days of our marriage, he ignored my truth about these things as well.

Thankfully, I am now at a point in my healing where I am able to shake the negative ions from my being as I turned my attention to the boxes and their contents. Although, my mind (being the dangerous and dark neighbourhood it often is) strays into the possibility he packed these boxes up specifically to rake my heart and spirit through the coals. He carefully put together collections of items and papers that would, once again, dredge up the sick and painful ache that until relatively recently throbbed whenever I thought of the last several years of our shared life. But the more realistic voice of the woman I am becoming (I really, really like her!) shrugs off these thoughts. Clearly my dark self was giving him far too much credit in actively plotting and conspiring even to not just break my heart but render it incapable of healing. No, he didn't plan what went in these boxes - - he just ignored what went in them.

I reach for one of the more recent boxes and realize that ignore is truly the operative in this situation. His new wife packed up this stuff -- at his request and direction. Apparently both she and I were under the impression he had sorted through the olio of books, photographs, letters and other papers for what he wanted or needed. As I set aside training materials for his career -- some of which are likely either 'protected' or 'classified' as his employer likes to label things -- I shake my head. I add to the 'give back' box photos of his family -- items from his youth that clearly have no place in my life and am almost knocked over by one letter that I know he once prized. It is a letter from his paternal grandmother -- a grandmother he did not meet until he was into adulthood and after he learned the man who actually contributed half the DNA that is HIM had died by suicide around the time Renfrew turned 18. This woman - whom he had sought out and taken long trips to visit - died when we were expecting our own child and I never had the pleasure of meeting her. A letter that contains her contribution to his search for his identity -- this letter is in a box packed up by his new wife and given to me as so much trash. I sigh and set the letter aside - knowing that it makes up a piece of the past that Renfrew spent his life trying to explain and sort out. That search may not seem so important while he is wrapped up in the intoxication of young love, but someday he'll get back to it.

Given that I knew I'd have several hours of only occasionally interrupted time, I took my paper shredder to the garage as a way to pass the time. If anyone had told me of the therapeutic uses for and healing powers of a paper shredder I would have thought they were grasping for another pop psychology miracle cure. But as I stood there sorting through old files and boxes, I discovered a freedom in the sound of the blades.

A folder marked 2002 revealed everything from cancelled cheques for my defunk law practice and paid household bills. As I pass the sheets of paper through the intermeshing blades watching them come out the other side in thin slips of paper I feel strangely peaceful. Like finally throwing out those notes from my first year universities courses once I'd graduated from my professional degree. Unpacking those boxes and putting the contents to rest has brought up feelings I've been ignoring -- probably because I wasn't ready to process them. I think they are ready to be taken out, set in the light, examined and recycled now -- at least I sincerly hope so.

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