Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Letting Go And Not Letting Go... Happy Birthday My Brother xxx

This week I've been doing a lot of clearing out. The amount of STUFF reached saturation point and it had to be done to allow some oxygen into the house. I shifted several boxloads but it's just the tip of the iceberg. Much of the stuff is relatively easy to let go of but the obstacles arise when faced with MEMORIES and all the feelings which arise when confronted with letting go of things which represent a connection to a time or more painfully, a person, who is no longer here.

One of the boxes I opened was full of patches I had cut out of my brother's T-shirts a few years ago after he died. It was a bit mad maybe to do that at the time but it was all mad anyway so we find whatever ways we can to get through times like that. I'd managed to take most of his other clothes along to Oxfam... smart suits and shirts, but his T-shirts were a lot more personal and evocative. Even a spiritual medium that my family saw a couple of years ago mentioned his T-shirts! They were the start of many a discussion or heated 'debate'! Some of them we agreed on, some of them we totally disagreed on, some he printed himself, a couple I bought him. They were always changing through the years reflecting a range of his politics and interests, usually controversial in some way, sometimes music or TV ones like 'The Moody Blues' or 'Lost'. The Moody Blues ones I've kept as whole T-shirts because my son wants to wear them one day. Another I kept to wear myself...

There are lots I remember which he must have got rid of over the years. One I cut up for use as my son's fancy dress zombie rags last Halloween (that was one I'd found particularly annoying at the time, a 'John Major's Roadworks, No Left Turn' one).

I miss seeing what he's going to turn up with next. More recently we'd found possibly a lot more common ground than we were ever really aware of.

Finding this box of 'rags' I decided I needed to do something with them or let them go. Despite listening and reading to many inspiring minimalist teachings in the last week, I realised I'm going to need to take it more gradually. This was one I found interesting:

But I decided with the approach to my brother's birthday, I wanted to hold on to them a little longer. Feeling a sense of urgency to finish the project I decided not to go for the neat and profesional approach but instead the more raw and ragged one, because that was more in touch with how it FEELS to be sewing together a blanket made out of my brother's clothes (because he's not here to be wearing them). So no tidy hems or precise lines and measured placements. And it felt GOOD to do it and to finish it.
I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with it. After all it's highly doubtful that I'd get much sleep with Margaret Thatcher on the bed!!! (albeit a particularly poor artist's impression taking off Che Guevara). The other side has a bit more of a peaceful ambience...
I did get the strange sense that he was watching and finding the whole thing quite entertaining with a sort of 'you're mad' expression. Which is OK with me. And wrapping it round me did kind of make him feel a bit closer.
One of his T-shirts which I liked the most was the one he printed about his own business he operated at home... particularly the No.1
So Paul, today is your birthday, you'd be 48 yrs old. There hasn't been a single day since you've been gone that we haven't thought of you, but we're especially thinking of you today. You will always be missed and always be living here in our hearts. Whatever we agreed on and disagreed on in this mad world, it all got a different perspective when you were no longer here to give it your voice. I wish more than anything you were still here, even the bits that used to wind me up something rotten! I'm comfortable writing this here online because I can't quite believe that wherever you are, you haven't devised some kind of gadget to enable you internet access! I reckon it's as good a place as any to get a message to you. You're still around, I know you are... Happy Birthday Paul xxx


  1. I particularly appreciated that minimalist website, dear Fran. Having spent three most hectic and hardwork days only last week, sorting and clearing the wee rented house of cousin Tony, I now have two largish plastic storage boxes to collect from his one and only neighbour when I am next all the way down in deepest Dorset (next mid-Feb!) And that is all I have for my Tony memory box, altho he is still alive, and continuing his life in a peaceful little room at a reasonably caring carehome (v much his choice at 92+) Indeed he has just this mo texted me: 'I am living a wonderful dream'! And his sole possessions are six volumes of Proust, all edited by his old schoolfriend, Denis Enright! As my cousin IS a minimalist, I too can begin to be one. XXX
    ps Love your blanket!

    1. I love your cousin Tony's text Sara! Yes, I understand what you mean about his minimalism having an influence on how you feel... making it in some way more permissable for you. Unfortunately my family are generally the greatest hoarders so it requires extra determination to step out of that depth of attachment to 'stuff'! Look forward to maybe seeing you next Feb?! xxx

    2. If I die today, dear Fran, NO-ONE will consider me anywhere near to being a minimalist!! STUFF rules, OK? Even tho I constantly have wee nibbles at it and have for years and years! However my resolve post Weymouth has been v firmly renewed! Plus will I ever read Remembrance of Things Past? Have YOU? xxx

  2. Love and hugs to you today Fran. I love the memory blanket you made xx