The box sits in my home office. The colorful files inside it are visible through the opaque plastic lid. Inside the colorful files are all the documents related to my sister’s estate: legal documents, paid bills, journals, a calendar, a checkbook, a passport. The papers inside represent the events of the last year and a half. There are copies of her death certificate, correspondence with various agencies, final copies of transactions, notes on the process of clearing, settling, selling, distributing–all the things you have to document, tend to, and keep when you are the responsible party.
The box is full. All the necessary forms have been submitted and filed. No more loose ends or things left to do.
I walked into my office this morning and looked at the box. The box holds all the things that needed to be done, needed to be filed, needed to be arranged and taken care of.
Now, the box only reminds me of her. What I wanted or needed to keep of hers–the calendar, the journals, the personal things–are all in there, behind the tax returns, the legal documents, the final payments. The end of a sixty-six year journey, and it all fits in this box.
I think the time has come to take the box from my office and put it away. I don’t need to see the box to be reminded of her. I am reminded of her somehow every day.
But the box is a testament to all that had to be done–despite the waves of grief, despite the sadness, despite the empty feeling I am left with. It represents the way she trusted me to take care of things for her, the way she wanted those things done, the way she knew I would somehow find the strength to do those things.
The box contains the final details of a life cut short. I don’t need the daily reminder of all that transpired after her life ended.
Her life was too big, too full, to fit into any box, let alone this one.
I’m putting the box away today. Tomorrow, I’ll probably look at the space where it once was and acknowledge that a new phase has begun.