When I was a very little girl, around 4 years old, we lived in a place called Fort Washington, outside of Washington DC in Maryland. I have no idea why we were there, I was too little. A parade ground arced around the front of our house, one of several Officers’ Quarters, with a large screened- in front porch. A Civil War Fort? Not sure, but old.
On my first day of school, probably Kindergarden or Nursery School, I received a small box all my own: papers, scissors, tape, crayons, a single hole punch that I have to this day, pencils, and I don’t remember the rest. Heaven! My love affair with office supplies and offices in general bloomed that day! I wish every single child in America could receive such a bounty! Great way to start my life as a small being.
Fast forward about 70 years, and once again, I have a small box in my life, only this time it’s full of files, getting ready for my death. Wills, Life Insurance, Vigil Plan, Memorial ideas, obituary draft, cemetery details, a list of my little treasures and who shall receive them as gift after I die, and so on. My death box! I am inordinately proud of this little box, a result of both my own work and the help that I have been getting from Holly, who knows about this stuff. I thank god for her daily.
Meanwhile, in a little basket, I have been putting stickies with names of people who have harmed me in various ways, and names of people or animals whom I have harmed, one way or another. Events that wake me up at night, in a long time rage or grief, as they keep washing over me. By writing them down on a sticky, and putting them into my basket, I no longer have to hold them, and at some point Holly and I and perhaps Eric will burn them all in a ritual of release and healing. So far, this seems to be helping. Part of my strategic wisdom efforts, that does seem to be spreading out into my life, one barely noticeable step at a time.
And finally, my life does seem to be coming full circle in amazing ways. Not only the little boxes, but I am now in contact with friends from elementary school in DC whom I have wondered about all my life. Now I know some of their stories and hope to hear more. I have heard their voices on my phone, and seen photos of themselves and their families. What a gift to me. One dear friend is dead now, but others are alive and thriving. It feels complete somehow: Delight, Diane, Patty, Jane, Nancy, Carol, Jim, Sharon, and others. Even Tuxie, a neighborhood dog whom I adored.
I told Eric today “I am happy!”, and realized later on that even better, I am content. Precarious, but content.