After Tamara and our dear friend, Carla, bagged our daughter's clothing...
After my brother and I dismantled the hospital bed...
After we donated a van full of medical supplies...
After the rail system came down...

We lay dormant like grubs in the ground,
A growing pile of stuff for donation, liquidation, and elimination.
"Did we really need all this stuff once?"
though we lived in a house--
A quiet house with a vacant room

we emerged
And began to purge junk we clung to
far too long

A knick-knack
Some brick-a-brack acquired Godknowswhen
A closet... then two
Scratched LPs I don't really listen to
Books from all corners of the house
Underwear drawers
Socks that slip down
The kitchen's accumulation of
platters for things we won't ever serve
at the parties we hope to have

We threw away the plastic-wrapped glacier in the freezer

We tossed the bower bird's nest
Sketch of a Bower bird proudly standing at the opening of his well decorated nest (c) 2015 by David Borden
A Bower bird's nest
We molted like snakes
It felt good, this
Shedding our cicada shells
in order to dry our wings

We donated
We dumped
We recycled what we could

I trimmed the trees that had banged against the roof for years,
carefully painted the wounds
gathered the limbs for dissection
and collection

All the purging made room
in our rooms
for things that are non-things:



time for thinking,

treasured memories,

new possibilities


"I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one." (Thoreau, "Walden" p. 287)

#grief #mourning #poem #declutter #clutter #recycle #Thoreau #recovering


  1. I found your blog through Eric Fisher. My son, Jack, died at the age of 15 in January 2014 from complications of a rare form of muscular dystrophy. He was trached/vent dependent, g-tube, etc, etc. - round the clock care. We are experiencing much of the same things you are. I was able to get rid of most of his supplies early on, but we still have some things we haven't yet been able to part with, like his wheelchair. And, having so much time on our hands is a tremendous adjustment. We have more hours to sleep, but find that sleep doesn't come. We haven't yet figured out how to live (enjoy) life with our new found freedom, but as time goes on, we are slowly giving ourselves permission to try.

    1. I'm sorry for your loss. I think we all grieve in our own way. The only thing we still have left is the wheelchair van, which I'll prep for sale as soon as I have the energy to do so. Interestingly, after we gave away Savannah's things, we just continued. Tamara said, "We should keep only those things that give us joy." As a result, we've applied that test to everything in the house. We've purged a huge mound of things that gave us nothing, or even detracted from our well-being. We've also forced ourselves to re-enter society after years of living as virtual shut-ins. To get an idea of our awkward foray into this new world outside our house, you can read another post on this blog called, "Life after 4pm."
      People like us travel a difficult road. Wishing you all the best.


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