Sparks of Joy, Embers of Sadness

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is a wildly popular little book that has been sitting on the bestseller list for a few weeks. It’s a bit wacky and wonderful, and somehow, incredibly motivating. Basically, the author suggests that you get rid of anything that does not spark joy in you. I confess, I’d read only a few chapters before launching full speed ahead into sorting out the joy from no-joy in my closet. Doing this with Winter clothing was easy — especially after this year’s grueling season. I was all too happy to give a heave-ho to my woolies and packed up 3 garbage bags.

Hidden in the behind my clothes was also something I’d been ignoring for 11 years – since my husband’s death. An oversized blue duffle bag full of papers documenting symptoms of his demise including collection letters, bank notices, recovery books and saddest of all, his return plane ticket to England for May 5, 2004.  He never got on that flight, instead, in the early hours of May 1st, he chose to end his life.

I’d held onto this bag of sadness for more than a decade. Why? To remind myself of what a lost cause our marriage had become? Proof I had done what I could? I don’t need that kind of reminder any more. As the years have passed, it’s gotten easier to remember the wonderful things about the father of my daughter, the man I’d once been wild about. The funny, warm, generous guy he was before addiction swallowed our marriage and eventually, him. Time has delivered healing, allowing me to better remember the laughter, adventure and love we shared. On a recent balmy night – too warm for a fire, I sat in front of the fireplace feeding the flames with sad history, sparks flying up the chimney into the night sky.

16 thoughts on “Sparks of Joy, Embers of Sadness”

  1. I found this book too and also find it motivating but haven’t done much because of still being in school. Our local recycling organization is holding a clothing drive for both good stuff and rags next week. I hope to get that stuff gone. I too have papers/letters that are about grief and need to be let go. It’s a courageous and freeing thing.

    Thank you for sharing this. I hope you are feeling lighter, easier with the burning of those papers. I am so glad you’re able to remember the good.

  2. Once again you manage to write about a painful subject and yet you write with such hope — thank you Tricia for all that your writing gives to me. I send hugs to you as you continue your ongoing journey.

    You also inspired me to go through my closet this morning. I now have 2 big bags to give to Goodwill.

  3. Your comments are always so loving – thank you! And I love that you felt inspired to purge – check out that funny little book to get even more motivated. xxx

  4. That is definitely a book I need to purchase. I know I would feel better for a bit of purging. I’m glad you are letting go of such a sad past and starting to remember the joys of the past instead. I love it when that time comes because once again you can let them be part of your life but in a good, positive way. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.

  5. Irene – Thanks for visiting. I loved discovering your blog today – serendipity I guess. Glad to have connected.

  6. Such a lovely image of a poignant personal ceremony of cleansing and letting-go….How wondrous that time has, to some degree, re-delivered your husband to you as he was….hopefully filming over some of those terribly painful images. XO

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