I decided it was time to get rid of Bruce's stuff and even as I write this, I feel a sharp pain. Is it betrayal? I know how much his stuff meant to him. As a boy growing up, he often felt deprived. As an adult-he so enjoyed the fact that he could have some of what he wanted. He loved his stuff. And he collected and saved much of it over his lifetime. The emotional cloud descended as I attempted to sort through his office at home. I found lots of his treasures: the collection of credit cards that he used since he was first able to obtain one, the collection of matchbooks from every restaurant he went to (some of these with me), the collection of toys that used to decorate his office, the batman memorabilia, the pens, the cameras, and so on. There were memos and old ticket stubs. I relived my past with him through much of the stuff that I needed to sort.
And as it did so many months ago, it occurred to me that we so value our stuff and often fail to put what these things are in perspective. Aren't they just things? Maybe not-maybe they represent who we are and what we value. But the sad fact is that we cannot take the stuff with us when we die. And often the value that we place on the stuff is not shared by anyone else.
Since Bruce was a qualitative sociologist-I imagine that this is the perfect research project. But then since there is so much to go through and sort-what would best represent him?
So my plan is to sort through and systemically remove his stuff from my life. It seems as if there should be a special ceremony for this-because his presence is so evident in the stuff that remains throughout the house. I thought that I was ready for this but I am feeling irritable and out of sorts. But it has been long enough and I have decided that it is time.