When are things just things?

I have talked many times about the heartache of giving my things away, of standing idly by watching them being thrown in the garbage bin, and the grief that came along with it.

I have posted about having to choose my things or my health.  I have told others that you have to choose between your health and your things.  Yes they are just things!  But we hold a certain attachment to things as human beings.  They are reminders of our past; the good times and the bad times.  They remind us of the special day we had shopping with our grandmothers and the beautiful doll or beads she bought us.  There are rarely any photos of these things we hold dear to our hearts and souls.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet via Skype a woman who found me through searching the words “Allergic to Life”.  Somewhere in our conversation the subject of purging or letting go of our items in order to lower our load and possibly gain some headway in our health came up.  I mentioned it is like going through the grieving process when you have to let go of your things.  She said that as humans we need attachments to things in our lives.  We talked for some time about letting go and the stages of grief.

I have said it was easy to let go because I was so very sick and just wanted desperately to get well.  In reality it wasn’t easy to let go.  I thought of taking pictures of things as my husband tossed them into the garbage bin.  I wanted to place them softly in the bin (I don’t know why because once at the refuse they would be piled into a pit with all sorts of garbage but they were my friends from childhood.)  It was my Scottie dog (yes it was shedding a lot of its coarse hair) my big teddy bear (even though it was one-eyed – the other eye lost many years ago) and my little stuffed dog with the ears worn so thin from rubbing that the bells had long ago fallen out them.  It was crafts that I had made to fill my home with Christmas cheer and handmade witch dolls that adorned our home at Halloween.

I watched sadly as my mother removed dresses, skirts, coats, and shoes from my closet and placed them in big black garbage bags.  They sat in piles around the bedroom floor that was already bare from having the carpet removed because I was reacting to it and needed a safe place to sleep.

Bags of Clothes, Shoes, Purses

Bags of Clothes, Shoes, Purses

A few days ago I was in the shower and began thinking about my losses.  Yes I missed the loss of my nice clothes (I would not be able to wear them today.  I was so thin and sickly when I purchased them.) but that didn’t seem to cause any great deal of emotion.  Soon I was thinking of my stuffed animals and missing them.  They weren’t anything that I would have played with but they used to hold a prominent position throughout my home, an homage to my younger self.  The memories flooded me and I felt saddened.  Fortunately for me the sadness quickly passed and I was back in the present.

So as easy as it is to say, “Things are just things.”  They truly aren’t.  They are a connection to our life and our memories.  It is a struggle to let go and know they are lost forever.

What things do you hold dear to your heart?  What would hurt you the most to give or toss away if you had to choose it over your health?

 

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10 responses to “When are things just things?

  1. What a lovely post. So true. In the grand scheme of things, things are just things. But, we don’t possess things just to have them. They usually have meaning to us, and even though they’re less important than our health and well being, we still mourn their loss.

    I had a stuffed bear I lost in an apartment fire (I wasn’t home, and the woman beneath my apartment started the fire). Though I lost lots of things in that fire, it was the bear’s loss that probably bothered me the most. Something about stuffed animals and what they meant at the time you received them, lingers when they’re lost.

    Again, good post.

  2. Thank you RJ. I have often thought if they had been lost in a fire and I hadn’t had to watch them being thrown away it would be easier. Your comment just shows me that it isn’t. Thank you for sharing that with me.

  3. Reblogged this on sondasmcschatter and commented:
    KATHRYN— I AM REAL DARNED CLOSE TO “A HOARDER”!!! 🙂 FOR YEARS & YEARS & YEARS I MADE A LIVING BY OWNING ANTIQUE & JUNK SHOPS!! AND I AM STILL A DARNED GOOD “PICKER”– I KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR A GARAGE SALES– FLEA MARKETS– JUNK SHOPS ETC-ETC-ETC– THAT CAN BE RESOLD & MAKE MONEY!!! — 🙂 BUT I NOT LONGER HAVE THOSE TYPE OF BUSINESSES!!! BUT IT IS DARNED HARD TO BREAK THE HABIT!!! 🙂 WHEN I RETIRED BECAUSE OF POOR HEALTH– WE SOLD AN 11,000 SQ FT WARE HOUSE FULL & MY ANTIQUE SHOPS & WE SIZED DOWN FROM A 3 STORY 5 BEDROOM HOME TO A SMALLER HOME AT THE LAKE!!! I HAVE ALWAYS COLLECTED– & RESOLD!!! IT HAS BEEN MY LIFE!!! FOR A LONG TIME IT KEPT FOOD ON THE TABLE & THE BILLS PAID!! YESTERDAY WE WERE IN A TORNADO WATCH HERE & THE WIND CAME UP REALLY STRONG & BLEW LIKE HECK– & LATER ON THE PORCH I FOUND A GRANITE PITCHER WITH FLOWERS I HAD ON THE PORCH HAD BLOWN DOWN ON A CERAMIC CAT I HAD MADE FOR MY MOTHER YEARS & YEARS & YEARS AGO–PROBABLY CLOSE TO 35 YEARS AGO OR LONGER– & THE CAT WAS IN PIECES– I HAD A GRIEVING TIME FOR THE STUPID CERAMIC CAT & TOOK A PICTURE OF THE BROKEN CAT— I KNOW “THINGS” ARE JUST “THINGS” ALSO—BUT I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A GOOD HOUSE KEEPER & NEAT BUSINESS OWNER– & I GUESS THAT I MADE MY LIVING FOR YEARS BY TAKING CARE OF TREASURES & RESELLING THEM & MAKING A GOOD LIVING– IT IS HARD TO LET GO— GOD HAS ALWAYS PROVIDED– BUT GOD DIDN’T TELL ME TO SIT ON MY BUTT– ON THE SIDE LINES ALL THOSE YEARS EITHER– HE GAVE ME A GIFT FOR BEING A “PICKER” OR TRESSURES & I STILL APPRECIATE “THINGS” OR TREASURES!! (MY LAST BUSINESS WAS NAMED UNUSUALLY UNUSUAL TREASURES!!! ) 🙂 I STILL LOVE TREASURES!!!! 🙂

  4. KATHRYN— I AM REAL DARNED CLOSE TO “A HOARDER”!!! 🙂 FOR YEARS & YEARS & YEARS I MADE A LIVING BY OWNING ANTIQUE & JUNK SHOPS!! AND I AM STILL A DARNED GOOD “PICKER”– I KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR A GARAGE SALES– FLEA MARKETS– JUNK SHOPS ETC-ETC-ETC– THAT CAN BE RESOLD & MAKE MONEY!!! — 🙂 BUT I NOT LONGER HAVE THOSE TYPE OF BUSINESSES!!! BUT IT IS DARNED HARD TO BREAK THE HABIT!!! 🙂 WHEN I RETIRED BECAUSE OF POOR HEALTH– WE SOLD AN 11,000 SQ FT WARE HOUSE FULL & MY ANTIQUE SHOPS & WE SIZED DOWN FROM A 3 STORY 5 BEDROOM HOME TO A SMALLER HOME AT THE LAKE!!! I HAVE ALWAYS COLLECTED– & RESOLD!!! IT HAS BEEN MY LIFE!!! FOR A LONG TIME IT KEPT FOOD ON THE TABLE & THE BILLS PAID!! YESTERDAY WE WERE IN A TORNADO WATCH HERE & THE WIND CAME UP REALLY STRONG & BLEW LIKE HECK– & LATER ON THE PORCH I FOUND A GRANITE PITCHER WITH FLOWERS I HAD ON THE PORCH HAD BLOWN DOWN ON A CERAMIC CAT I HAD MADE FOR MY MOTHER YEARS & YEARS & YEARS AGO–PROBABLY CLOSE TO 35 YEARS AGO OR LONGER– & THE CAT WAS IN PIECES– I HAD A GRIEVING TIME FOR THE STUPID CERAMIC CAT & TOOK A PICTURE OF THE BROKEN CAT— I KNOW “THINGS” ARE JUST “THINGS” ALSO—BUT I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A GOOD HOUSE KEEPER & NEAT BUSINESS OWNER– & I GUESS THAT I MADE MY LIVING FOR YEARS BY TAKING CARE OF TREASURES & RESELLING THEM & MAKING A GOOD LIVING– IT IS HARD TO LET GO— GOD HAS ALWAYS PROVIDED– BUT GOD DIDN’T TELL ME TO SIT ON MY BUTT– ON THE SIDE LINES ALL THOSE YEARS EITHER– HE GAVE ME A GIFT FOR BEING A “PICKER” OR TREASURES & I STILL APPRECIATE “THINGS” OR TREASURES!! (MY LAST BUSINESS WAS NAMED UNUSUALLY UNUSUAL TREASURES!!! ) 🙂 I STILL LOVE TREASURES!!!! 🙂

  5. I am so sorry about the ceramic cat. I was a collector of fabrics, buttons, laces, and old patterns.

    • OH— I HAVE THOSE ADDICTIONS ALSO!!!! 🙂 AND OLD JEWELRY — AS YOU CAN TELL ON MY PINTEREST PAGE– I RECYCLE OLD JEWELS!!! 🙂 & I LOVE EMBROIDERY PATTERNS & ALL COLORS OF EMBROIDERY THREAD!!!! AS WHEN I WAS GROWING UP I WAS POOR– & ALWAYS WANTED– & NOW I CAN AFFORD!!! 🙂 WE ALWAYS HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON!!!! 🙂 LOVE YA!!! 🙂

  6. ((hugs)) It is very difficult when things reflect who we are… to let them go. Discerning between “reflecting who we are” and defining who we are is essential. I used to have a really hard time giving away clothing, but now I thinking of how it might bless someone else, vs. drag me down.

  7. The grief over losses, both material and non-material, can just sneak up on us at any time. I appreciate the fact you brought this up.

  8. Ugh I can totally relate to this. I had to get rid of a lot of stuff… some things that were given to me as gifts and had a lot of sentimental value. It was definitely like grieving. It felt like some sort of funeral to me. I was not a fan. I’m still working on replacing the things I had to give up with things I can use. It’s very weird getting used to the “new you” at times…. it’s just all so unexpected and hard to deal with!

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