A post on Craig’s List reminded me of a sofa table I had before Archie died. I remembered the feeling I had about the table before I remembered what it looked like and I struggled to come up with an image. A matching buffet and dining room table from the same Thomasville grouping came to mind first, but it took several more minutes to re-imagine what that sofa table looked like. And then it was there, a picture of it in my mind. It was there along with a rush of nostalgia for the hours I had spent dusting and caring for those pieces. I loved seeing that furniture in my home. I felt proud of what Archie and I had built together. Then it was over; all of it – Archie, my marriage, the farms, the horses, my career; done.
I suppose my experience is no different from anyone else’s experience of loss. We may each internalize it in our own unique way, but the reality of it just is. We do what we need to do to cope, carry on, let go and begin again. In the early days, my process was to push it all away. I pushed out all of Archie’s stuff first. His clothes, his tools, his machines and boats, even the camper and the truck he loved so much. The house went next and then the horses went over to the Arbor. When all the outside stuff had been pushed away it was time to push away the inside stuff. The Living room furniture went to a friend at work but I wanted to get cash for the dining room furniture and that matching sofa table. I wanted to get some return on my investment of time, money and love, even if it was only a fraction of what I had put into them.
The lovely Thomasville set was shipped to a local consignment store without a thought or feeling of loss. I pushed that furniture away so hard and fast that I had no feeling whatsoever about doing so. I noticed the absence of emotion at the time. I knew even then that the pain would come someday. Today, four years later, I caught a wave of grief for that lovely, warm, cherry table and her sister pieces. They served all of my darlings for many a happy family gathering and my heart filled with regret and sadness for the lost years. I believe that once our hearts are broken open by a great loss, we are able to walk with death boldly. Like Bob Hope used to say: “Thanks, for the memories”! As bitter-sweet as those memories are, they connect us to what is sacred within us.

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