Empty Out This House

Help me to empty out this house
of what I’ve gathered all these days
and thought I couldn’t do without
and throw it all away…
– Throw It All Away, by Toad the Wet Sprocket

Yesterday I was down at the family’s lake house, because she needed me gone for her final walkthrough of the house. She went through and got the last of the things she wanted from here, left her housekey on the table, and then sent me an email saying she was done and anything left behind could be kept or disposed of.

So I walked through the house this morning, looking at what she left behind, trying to understand why her brain chose some things but not others. She took some things I bought for her, but not others. I tried to find the pattern, the reasoning behind why some things may have been an emotional trigger but not others. And suddenly it hit me like lightning bolt: it doesn’t matter.

She took the things she took because she wanted them. She left what she left because she didn’t. Whatever her reasons for each decision were, it doesn’t matter anymore. She has her life. I have mine. They’re not going to intersect again except when we meet to sign the final paperwork. Our lives have diverged onto two separate paths, and neither of us needs to look through the trees to see where the other is going, what they’re thinking. She doesn’t want me worrying about her mind, and I don’t want her worrying about mine. Whatever reasons she had for leaving or taking things aren’t my business any more. Her thoughts aren’t my business. Her life isn’t my business.

It’s time for me to gather up the things she didn’t want, the things she left behind, and and either keep or dispose of them. While some things need to be disposed of, I’m going to try not to throw things away, to salvage what can be salvaged, what’s worth salvaging, and find a new home for them. That includes the version of me that I was, the biggest thing left behind that she didn’t want anymore. There are some traits worth salvaging, but some of them need to go.

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