I love the English language and am constantly fascinated by the power of words. Sometimes if we ignore the spelling but just focus on the sound i.e. listen to the word itself we might even notice and hear something more. For example, the word roots suggests the roots of say a tree which implies nourishment, foundation and stability, and so on. The word route suggests a path and direction, if we know the path we have clarity and we have a sense of where we are going on our chosen path. Lightness implies weightlessness something that is less heavy and light could mean seeing the light after walking on a dark path or being able to see.
I reflected the other day in a post where I mentioned I had finally ‘let go’ of my father’s care folder which contained his palliative records.
This is what I wrote in my post..
“We humans tend to make quick judgements about other’s behaviour, especially, when we see someone who looks alright but is may be hanging on to something, in my case my father’s care notes for all this time knowing full well that the notes had no purpose whatsoever. I won’t say I feel proud for having taken this step, as I had put the folder on the top of my desk for the last two weeks, and each day I moved my diary entry which read- let go of dad’s pink file. I have mixed feelings. Part of me knows this is a necessary step and part of me is still reluctant! One gentle request to anyone who comes across someone whose lost a loved one, never say move on. Even a useless file of papers takes time to let go. Thank you for reading this.”
The file in question was pink and it was a thin file of papers but it lived in the filing cabinet until I took it out about two weeks ago with a view to finding the courage to do something with it. It took me 7 years, 8 months and 3 weeks to take one simple step.
The folder was placed in our recycle green bin, and this morning, I found myself by the front window completely unplanned very early in the morning only to realise that I still had time to go outside and pull the file out of the bin. I could hear the refuse collectors lorry so I had time but a thought went past my mind like a flashing light saying ‘just hang in there, let it be’ and I did just that. Afterwards, I checked in on my feelings, being a Coach means I tend to reflect on what is going on inside me, sometimes that can be annoying but sometimes it helps. At first, I did not know how I felt, the only thought I had was it’s done. A bit like there’s no point in crying over spilt milk!
Later, I felt numb, empty, still and yet there was a sense of lightness. These emotions are conflicting. As the day went on I found myself in our study de-cluttering and letting go of my dad’s old paperwork, as though I had given myself permission to start. This was not on my agenda so I was pleasantly surprised that I was doing this but I seem to be in autopilot, determined to work through my dad’s study desk. I found myself touching, looking and even reading some of his old paperwork, his medical diaries which I had written before placing most of this in the recycle bag. I also put aside the very first DAB radio I bought for my dad on one Father’s day which is not working and hasn’t for years but I was keeping it, why? perhaps because it was a part of him, me and us.
After putting what no longer served in the recycling bags there was no fanfare, my dog was my only living witness but I doubt he was saying he was proud of me or had an observation on my actions either way.
Today, as I wrote to my father in my journal I told him I am quietly at peace. I shared with my dad how I had even discarded our old passport photos but not his driving licence. When we talk about lightness this could mean feeling light with our weight but to me this also means lightening the load on my shoulders, something I carried during my journey. This is just the beginning but you will see why de-cluttering and also tackling what weighs us down emotionally and in our environment can also be healing.
A brilliant friend of mine who didn’t even know that I had started this process of de-cluttering, kindly shared a quote by William Morris
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”.
This quote was timely and a good reminder that I was on the right path. There was another witness other than my dog, the universe and through the universe, my friend who picked up on my day.
My father lives in me and he is with me everywhere I go so why am I attached to his ‘things’? The most precious ‘thing’ about my dad is what he means to me and while I can think and feel alive, he is always with me. Always. Letting go is hard but let go we must, in order to make way for what is our now and hopefully our tomorrow.
If you are reading this and this resonates please do what feels right and when it feels right. The only person who can give you permission to let go assuming you need it, is you.
My Dad’s Bureau.