Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The stuff...

Every once in a while I find myself amused when I think of all the STUFF the tornado took from us.  Of course, there are the big items--the cars (my minivan and my hubby's Civic we bought our first month of marriage 12 years earlier), the furniture we purchased to fill our first house, the SWEET refrigerator we had bought just 2.5 weeks before the tornado; and the sentimental items--the clock my great grandmother and grandfather hand-crafted and painted for me when I was born, the artwork I commissioned from my talented cousin, the painting of my own sweet baby bum painted by my great grandmother, the love letters my husband and I wrote when courting cross-country, the clothes (and positive pregnancy tests) I had saved from each one of my children's infancy.  Then there were the practical things like my MASSIVE collection of cook books and herbs/spices, all the baby gear from the previous 5 kids saved for the final one yet to be born, all the hand-me-down clothes from big brother (I had 5 big tubs of NICE Gymboree clothes saved for the little boys), all my home schooling materials, and so, so, so, so much more.

There are things I find I'm missing that make me laugh.  Items I don't use every day.  For example, Valentine's Day was approaching a few weeks ago and I thought about gettin' a little sexy for the hubby....oh, wait, I don't own any lingerie any more.  Thanks again, Tornado!  Or my daughters and I took a trip to Kansas City for a beauty pageant and the hotel had a pool.  I was excited to go swimming in the winter but wait...I don't own a swim suit any more.  And you know how you amass a collection of clothes that "work" postpartum?  Mine were sucked away into the vortex (which meant postpartum shopping--YUCK)!

The loss of our stuff wasn't too traumatic.  I mean, having it all gone at once left us gob-smacked, but we weren't so attached to it all that we mourned deeply the loss of it all.  I do feel chagrined about the loss of heirlooms like the clock and painting and the fact that I can't share my husband's love letters with my children when they are grown and starting to date.  I feel guilty that since my parents' divorce I was the holder of all videos and pictures from my childhood.  My brothers won't get to share pictures of themselves as cute, freckled 5-year-old boys with their kids because I held onto them and the tornado took them.

But stuff is just stuff.  It is wood, cotton, polymer, nails, bolts, zip-ties, and glue.  I have the memories, I have my children alive and mostly whole.  My husband is still next to me and lives his love letters every day to me.  We bought new stuff--cause you need stuff to go on living in the USA--and if it all gets taken away again, then we'll still be okay.


  1. Love this post.. You are a great writer! Give yourself a big hug for me!!

  2. All the stuff indeed. As I read, I thought of my stuff- my love letters and photos, my sentimental things I would miss and try to look for but never find.

    Another layer of the grief. deep sad sigh.

    I also thought of my mother in law, who lost so much in a fire when Steve was a young teen. As I married into the family,I came to know and experience that "The Fire" was so much a part of all of their lives. There was life "before the fire" and there was life "after the fire." It defined their history in so many ways.

    So many stories- she still speaks of a stranger bringing her dishtowels, like they were a precious gift.

    And entering into their lives, 10 yrs after the fire, I heard the answer over and over again as my husband and his siblings-now grown and starting to marry looked for things- "Oh, I think we lost that in the fire" was a common answer to many questions.

    And then the irreverent humor, as any lost thing (even if it was today's mail)- "Oh, I think we lost that in the fire!" Smarty pants... where is humor in the grief process? How does it fit? Is it part of the denial or is it the acceptance, or just a buffer for our souls?

    And in all of this, I find myself wanting to fight and guard against your pain happening to me-
    What if I made doubles of all my photos? Safeguard all my precious things?
    There is no way is there? Is this the part of us that longs for eternity?

    Just processing with you. Thank you for sharing in your grief. May there be peace in the healing process.
    much love