I worry, in the way that all grieving people do, that somehow I am going to lose what my parents left in this world.
I know, I know, I know that I cannot carry everything they left. The towels that lined my mother’s chair to absorb her incontinence, for example, don’t really need to stay around, no matter how many times I had to wash them in the machine that is now starting to fail.
My siblings don’t have the same commitment, the willingness to pick up and carry what is important from what parents left. It doesn’t feel a shared burden. For example, this is the week of vacation where my sister indicated she wanted to go to Toronto and inter my parents ashes, but instead, she hasn’t seen me all week, though she has had me support a broken phone and create a mailer for her business.
I had hoped that I would be able to go through the data from last year, the voicemails, recordings, text messages and other primary sources to construct the story of my parent’s last year. That is not something I have been able to do, however. Kate B was once surprised at how fast I could turn my experiences into art, my old television habit of instant memoir, but the story of my parents is still way beyond my grasp.
People die. It’s one of the things we all do. Billions of people have already died, and maybe 155,000 people every day in the world. And when we die, we disappear in all but the stories others carry about us. I really wish others would care about the stories of my parents, but I know they have their own burdens to carry. Ancestor reverence isn’t something that’s highly valued in this society. We don’t really do history.
I know that I need to move on, and moving on means not having to carry both my own baggage and all the baggage my parents left. And I know the time is coming soon.
But leaving them behind still makes me very sad.
Even if I will always carry them with me.