The others were making her do this. Said it was time, well past time. As if there was a time limit on grief. That after a set number of days, or weeks, months or even years, you could turn off the sadness like a light switch. A simple click and all sorrow and pain is gone, and your life can resume undisturbed.
It wasn’t like that. Nothing could take away that pain. Packing up all his belongings, wiping away all evidence of his life, could never erase his memory either.
They said they would help sort through everything with her, but they didn’t know what to do with any of it. They wanted to donate it, just give it away like so much junk. They might as well throw it all in black trash bags and dump it at the curb for the garbage trucks to haul off.
No, she would give his memories the respect they deserved.
Shutting the door behind her, she locked it so the others would leave her in peace. Boxes and wrapping tissue were laid out on the bed. A step stool stood in one corner so she could reach all the treasures lined up just so along the plate rail that encircled the room.
The desk where she worked was barren, bereft of textbooks and college rule paper. One by one she carefully packed academic trophies and certificates, tiny figurines of baseball bears and Christmas snow globes, photographs of happier days, and heirloom toy trucks. Each act deliberate, meticulous in its economy of motion. Slowly turning them over in her hands, imagining they were still warm from his touch.
As she placed each item in a box, reliving precious snippets of a glorious life, it was like burying him anew.
The last boxed filled, she unlocked the bedroom door and walked out. Leaving a life unfulfilled, packed away in four cardboard cartons.
A mother should never outlive her child.