Holding On, Letting Go

Like many, I have been taking advantage of this time at home doing projects.

Decluttering closets, drawers, and rooms in the house.

Do you have that one spot that you store up the things you have not been able to part with yet?

Maybe it is a drawer, a closet.

Mine is the back basement.

This area in our house holds toys, decorations and boxes and boxes of memories.

It’s my “I’ll deal with it later” area.

I put things here to forget about them for a while.

I distract myself or tell myself I am too busy.

I avoid dealing with them for a bit longer.

Maybe because it is too messy or too hard to deal with that moment.

So as I made my way to the basement in my yoga pants and sweatshirt (my daily attire these days), I already knew I would stir up more than dust in the lower level of the house.

I would have to decide what I would hold onto and what I needed to finally let go of. 


I like to hold onto things.

Chances are if you wrote me a note in junior high or sent me a card or letter in college, I still have it. 

Trust me on this one.  

And pictures?  

Do not even get me started.

I unearthed many treasures, ones that brought me many smiles and laughs throughout the afternoon.

But as I came to my parents boxes, I found myself drowning in feelings of grief.

It has been almost eight years since my Mom has passed, nine for my Dad.

My sisters and I took a weekend to go through their belongings years ago.

It was emotionally draining.

We made a dent, but there was so much more to go through.

We said we would get together another time to go through the rest.

But that day never came.

So I gave myself over to this day with little expectation other than to feel their loss deeply.

To laugh, to cry.

To let go of a little more.

I moved through items that had not been touched in years.

Boxes of manilla envelopes, filled with receipts that dated back decades.

Tax returns, gas bills, telephone bills.

Organized by year, day to day life.

Their life.

And almost ceremoniously, after getting an “its ok” from one of my sisters, I burned these symbols of a life lived well.

A life that is no longer lived here.

Maybe by surrounding myself with these pieces of Mom and Dad, I could keep a piece of them present in the place where they lived out their last days.

A place where they took their last breaths.

And as I watched the flames dance in the fire pit under the starlit sky, I cried knowing that their life is not here anymore.

Some days, I put that emotion on the shelf to deal with later.

And other days I give into the wave of emotion that crashes over me.

The waves eventually subside.

And I resurface a little lighter.

When I dust off the boxes filled with memories, I take comfort in knowing where Mom and Dad’s life is right now.

And that the impact of their love still lives on.

The heaviness of grief was felt by Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James when they went to the tomb to anoint Jesus ‘ body.

I am sure that when they saw that the stone was rolled away from the tomb, a wave of emotion crashed over them.

But these waves subsided when they were told that Jesus was not there.

They must have felt lighter when they were told He had risen.

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Mark 16: 1-7 NIV

There was comfort in knowing that even though Jesus was no longer with them, He had life with His Heavenly Father.

His life was no longer there, but the impact of His love still lived on.

The impact of His love still lives on.

That is the hope that sustains us.

May that hope along with His peace be with you today.