Twenty years ago my siblings and I sorted and packed up my parents’ home, going through private papers, old taxes, letters, photos, pictures, special dishes and furniture__sorted and packed up 50 years of memories, thoughts and feelings.
I really appreciated the mostly cooperative spirit of my brothers. As we neared the end of our sorting, a portrait of my mom was put into the circle to see who wanted it. No one wanted it. Somehow I took it home with me.
Yesterday, at a dear friend’s fire pit I burned the picture. It had lived in the basement, on a wall, for 20 years and then in my kitchen for a month as I wondered how to get it out of my life.
Burning the picture wasn’t a huge cathartic experience. It felt like a timely goodbye to that part of my mom who was stingy with support and love, who couldn’t respect her daughter’s different path or her daughter’s wisdom.
Of course, this is not really about my mother but about what I took on and carried into my adult life. Now my work is to continue to say goodbye to the many ways which I pretend to be hostage to my history.
Another fire soon.