Slowly ripping off the dressing – and hair, skin and scab, too.

That’s what it felt like. I’d put it off. Procrastinated. Made excuses. Denied it would hurt.

But it did. And it still does. Saying goodbye aint easy.

I’ve known for years I’d eventually do it. In my soul I knew a part of my life has been over for a while. A part that was good to me [and I hope I was good to it, as well.] But it was time. Actually long past time. But we’re dealing with an emotion-laden memory here, not logic or logistics. It was time to purge myself of the last tangible elements, the last touchstones, the last talismans of a life that brought me to where I am today. I still have memories. For the most part, they’re good ones. I still have stories I can tell. Tales I can laugh at. And I’ve realized that some of the tears, anger and frustration were actually valuable lessons in disguise. Damn it, those disguises were awfully good. But they did their job.

I’d tried to do this several times in the past. But kept making excuses, some valid, some bogus. I’ve run out of them.

“OK, but what they hell are you talking about,” you say. Well it’s not rings and other jewelry. Those went quite a while back, when gold prices were peaking. It’s books. Specifically, boxes and boxes of books from my teaching days. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “We teach what we need to learn.” There’s a corollary to it: “We teach what we love to share.” These were among the last boxes in a bloodletting that’s been going on for a few years now. Boxes of knowledge that I hopefully absorbed for myself and transmitted to the students who were more concerned with a course grade than course content.

I’m hoping that the Irish Studies department at the University of Colorado can put them to a better use than my storage locker did over the past bunch of years. And even if students of today’s digital era never crack their bindings, at least my old friends will be surrounded by others like themselves.

Slán a fhágáil, mo cinn daor


8 Comments on “Slowly ripping off the dressing – and hair, skin and scab, too.

    • It took me a bit of time – and a reasonably thick skin to ignore the people who ignored my initial contacts – but in the end I found good people in an appropriate department. The department head told me that the library would have first dibs on my collection, followed by faculty and grad students. Then the remainders would be planted in a box by his office door for undergrads to find. No matter what, this result is better than a storage locker.

  1. Having just come back from my Aunt’s burial and with her boxes, I stood and looked at my “stuff”. Sounds much like your stuff. Treasures of obscure things only someone very odd would treasure. I’ve gone through stages of shedding. But now, it is getting closer to the core and after looking at the boxes of my Aunt’s, I am convinced that I must begin again in earnest. I don’t want to leave that to my kin…it is painful work. All this said to tell you that I can relate and let you know that I am impressed with your discipline and strength to do it. Hard business, this. Bravo Jim! -Sherrie

    • Shedding stuff is usually easier said than done.

    • But there’s still more to go…books, LOTS of artwork, office supplies. Hoping to make sure they’re gone before I’m gone. [But I won’t make any promises.]

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