Thursday, 1/4/07

[The growing Comcast Center skyscraper (with the crane on the right)]

Today is the day I tackle the closet. Mary Javian is coming over this morning and while Bax is at daycare, we're going to pack up Mike's things. My dad is an amazing quilter and he has offered to make a quilt out of Mike's shirts. It's bound to be beautiful because, as most of you know, Mike's wardrobe is almost entirely in autumn colors: rust orange, dark green, brown, golden yellow, and maroon. Lots of solid, plaid, and striped cotton button-downs.

As for those items that aren't used for the quilt, I have no idea what I will ultimately do with them. The goal right now is to just pack them up into large rubbermaid bins. I also have been working on setting aside a collection of beautiful sweaters that I know his mother would really like to have - either as keepsakes or to actually wear (since she and Mike have the same coloring, they both look amazing in the same landscape of colors). I will also be putting together a small box of special treasures for Baxter. So far, I'm thinking it will include his wallet, car keys, cufflinks, tapdancing shoes, Mask and Wig cumberbund and bowtie (which he kept in this special little box), programs from the many shows he was in, and diaries that he kept for years. It will also include the collection of notes and cards that Mike has given to me. I think it's important for Baxter to know how much his mom and dad cared about each other.

One thing that's really weird is what kinds of objects and events strike me and draw me into a place of grief. it's not the stuff you would think. The big one right now seems so random, but in talking with friends, I realize that maybe it's not that weird. Currently in Center City, in the financial district, there's a new giant skyscraper being built. I think it's going to be the new home to comcast. It's supposed to be as tall as, if not slightly taller than, the tallest skyscrapers currently in philly (the liberty towers). Over the past couple of months, it's really grown.

Whenever I drive over the Ben Franklin Bridge into the city I see it, and I get so angry. In talking with Tom and Mary the other night, I fully realized what it's all about. The skyline that Mike knew doesn't exist anymore. And it's not like it's "unfair" that he's not going to see the new skyline. It's far bigger than that. I think it was Tom who suggested that the growing skyscraper is a reminder that time is moving forward, the world is changing, and Mike is frozen in time when he died. And the more things change, the more babies are born, the more political changes that take place, the more stores pop up in Philly, the more words Baxter can say each day --- all of these serve to move the rest of us forward, away from Michael. And he just sits there in the past as we all move ahead.

In some ways, this same inevitable process that exacerbates my grief is also the process that serves to move my life forward - in a good way. The more new music I listen to, the older Baxter gets, the more new people I meet, the less frequent and painful I find the thought of Michael. It's in my grief that I'm connected to him... So grieving is both comforting and devastating. It's sort of why, in a fucked up way, I'm looking forward to spending the day with Mike today --- in his closet, touching his things...


Anonymous said...

Best of luck tackling the closet, D. Hang tough.

Lansdowne Diane said...

Danna, I know what you mean exactly about the skyscraper and being angry--I felt that way about my mother's death and what she was not going to experience. Conversely, she didn't get to endure some bad times, like 7+ years with W in the White House! There will be times when you will actually think "I'm glad Mike's not alive to see THIS!"

Your plans to save certain things sound wonderful and the quilt will definitely be a stunner. Packing things away is smart--I still have a variety of things from my parents that I've packed away--every once in a while I take out the ol' Rubbermaid tubs and look at what I've kept and occasionally make some changes to the contents, sometimes I just repack them all back up for the next time. Like the old poem/song says "to every thing there is a season and a time for every purpose".


Anonymous said...

I kept some of my Dad's folders that he used for his bills. They have his handwriting on them and when I see them I wish he could see my house and meet my crazy dog and I wonder if he would be proud of my life.

I also turn out the lights when I leave a room and if I don't, I hear his voice telling me to "turn out the lights, it's costing me a fortune!"

I know how tough the "Closet Day" can be, D-gal, so make sure you do something nice for yourself afterwards.