I bought buckets yesterday. Storage buckets. The sturdy kind. Bigger than normal. Big enough to bury some memories. Big enough to hide away 7 years. Oh, and school supplies. For a college student. Not an elementary student. The way it should have also been.
Such a simple purchase for so many. For me before Katherine. With goals of organizing something in our lives that’s nagging at us. To hold possessions and memories and things needed during different seasons and turns of life. Thinking about it enthusiastically. Excited to get it done. And I was frozen.
I stood in front of the shelf and it suddenly hit me, as if I wasn’t already aware. But clarity is not a positive moment for parents of loss, in most cases. What the hell was I doing? I was buying buckets for my dead child’s most personal affects. People behind me buying clothes, and school supplies. And here I was… buying this.
My buckets were to hold a dead 7 year olds “stuff”. My 7 year old Katherine. How did my child accumulate so much of this stuff. In piles taller than me. It’s like she was holding on to this life with all of her might. Collecting pieces of herself on the way out. Fighting for more time with the ownership these things. As if having them meant there would have to be more time somehow in her mind. Why would life give you so much, and then take you away before you had time to enjoy it?
Well, there wasn’t more time. They now sit silent and dusty. Like much of ourselves. I realize, again, that cancer didn’t care about her plans. Or ours. It wanted her gone. And quickly. No fight. No chance. No Saturday organization to look forward too. No new seasons to begin. Just buckets full of her life. You might as well pack mine along with it.