Boxes, Needles, and Dust

We sold the house. Move date is nebulously the first week in August. The new owner wants to move in here August 15. Much packing has been in the works. The dust in a well-kept house makes me shudder to think about how it would have been had I been less diligent about it. Boxes and boxes and stuff and stuff and donations and donations. I am wildly, brutally purging, and still I have too much stuff.

I put off doing Chris’ room (aka, Frank’s den, aka, the hoarding room) for as long as possible. The house is as packed up as it can be while we’re still living in it. It was time. All the things I put in the closet of that room-waiting (the Curaleaf Tshirt, the weightlifting trophies, the cards and notebooks and poetry and equations) needed to be packed away.

We bought bins. (Bins. My son’s life condensed into bins.) That alone is enough to make the lump rise in my throat, the tears sting the back of my eyes. I tried not to look through things as I packed them away. (The marvel of those pages of equations that meant something to him. To other minds that work like his.) I put on his shirt and wrapped up in a sheetboth still Chris scented. I cried, and I put them away. I grabbed his gym bag, that sweaty, battered gym bag, and put it in last.

Two needles fell out.

The fury. The fury. At him for doing what he did. At myself for not seeing what I should have seen, knowing what I should have known. Please don’t tell me I couldn’t have, or that it wouldn’t have mattered. Logic has no say in anything sometimes. Today, I know he was always going to be a step ahead of me. Today, I know it might not have mattered then, and probably wouldn’t have in the long run. But those needles fell out of his bag, and the fury rose and rose and rose, accompanied by its best pal, guilt, followed behind by the soul-ripping sorrow that’s always going to be lurking inside me, waiting for an opportunity to stretch and claw its way out.

Its all packed away. The brilliance and the scents and the memories, good and bad. I considered keeping those needles, a morbid thing to consider. I snapped off the tips. I bent them in half. I threw them into the firepit and watched them burn.

We’re moving. A new phase in life, begun the day he died (the day he fell, the day he first used, the day he broke his ankle, his spirit) is well and truly on. I hope this log house on the river, in the woods, this house I’ve dreamed of as long as I can remember, gets to be what it deserves to be in my memory. Only leaving it is going to let that happen. I want to remember all the good times we had here, the beauty of this place, the peace and the love. Once the shadows are no longer hovering every day, I think it can be.

I suppose we’ll see soon enough.



Melancholy by Albert György in Geneva, Switzerland


Filed under Life's honest moments

16 responses to “Boxes, Needles, and Dust

  1. Elizabeth Young

    Oh man. Your fury (and following grief) is 100% warranted. Here is the key sentence to me, “Today, I know he was always going to be a step ahead of me.” That is the 100% truth.

    Moving will be horrible and wonderful. And then you’ll have a new space where you can relish your good memories and not be saddled with the bad ones every time you walk into a particular room……

    I’m hoping for peace through the process. LOVE. E


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Thank you, my Bea. 🙂 ❤ I really think not only being in a new house, but a new town, is going to lighten the weight significantly. Fingers crossed.


  2. I can only imagine the horror of those needles falling out. Like a slap across the face. A reminder you didn’t need. I find myself wondering if they were a sign of some sort. To help you stop second guessing yourself about how you couldn’t do more to stop what had happened. (though any mother would feel as you do under these circumstances.) But maybe (in the saddest way), they’re a reminder that Chris alone controlled his life. Nobody but him. Perhaps he wants you to let go of the thing in your head that makes you question yourself every so often. It would be a harsh sigh, but perhaps a strong message might be the only way he could think of to help you see that.
    Sorry if this sounds silly. I’m thinking a lot about the after-life and signs this week. You know why. Anyway, I love you and am here for you. Your new adventures awaits. I’m here to help along that path. (((hugs)))


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      I think you have something here, and it’s not at all silly. Chris, life, the cosmos–it’s a harsh sign from something, someone, somewhere, but a necessary one.
      As much as I KNOW these things, that I couldn’t have done anything, that it was up to him, his control, his life, I’m always going to also FEEL those less than logical feelings. It’s just part of it. For ME, accepting this is part of the process, part of my life.
      Love you too. So much.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Terri-Lynne, I’m sending you lots of hugs, much love, and the hope of comfort as you start your new journey. ❤️❤️❤️


  4. Nothing but love for you, T.


  5. Once again you use your gift, the fierce and yet gentle way you communicate, to turn me inside out. I love you so very much. I’m so sorry for your pain. So very sorry. Makes me want to jump in my car, drive to where you live, and give you a big hug.


  6. Kim V.

    Thank you for sharing this, Terri-Lynne, for making yourself vulnerable so that we can see and try to understand. ❤ Love you!


  7. Mark Nelson

    Power. Patience. Perseverance. Passion compels us to parambulate among the poignant moments, memories and mysteries. Much love!


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