Linking arms with aunts and mama, with grandchildren happy as clams up with grandpa and grandma for a week, I started the process on the main floor. I called it Operation Spring-Cleaning Catch-Up. It took about a day for me to realize what halted the process back in 2010. While I was cleaning the dining room table, which had become a sanctuary for piles of bills we couldn't pay and papers we didn't know what to do with, I kept coming across things that made my stomach turn. Old letters from church people begging us to repent and return back in 2010. Artwork I made while struggling through the worst depression of my life in 2011. Letters from my children when I was in the hospital, begging me to get well and come home to them. So much bitter, so much bittersweet.
Again and again, I had to walk away from the piles. Go out to the air on the porch, hot, humid and heavy with the July heat wave. The air felt as oppressive as my spirit. But the sun burned right through the darkness I tried to hide myself in behind my eyelids and lit up that dark room all the way to the corners...lit up those memories, those pieces of paper I was dreading. And as I watched, it was if they all caught fire and drifted away in cinders.
I realized I'd been living in a haunted house. I couldn't face the process of ridding the house of all this built-up bad. So it got buried on the table, or shoved under the bed along with an empty Oreo tray and a crunched up beer can, the refuse of another bad stab at coping. Cleaning it all out - the triggers of my grief along with all the evidence of my burying the grief - was like rubbing the dirt out of an old, festering wound. Hurts like *mmmhmmm while you're scrubbing, but there's hope like never before when you see those clean pink edges of a wound beginning to heal. A wound healing. A clean wound. One you can look at without curling back your lips in disgust.
|Image credit: Dorothea Lange, 1936|
How about you? Have you ever faced such crippling grief or psychological pain that you had an extreme reaction to your surroundings in your home? Which reaction did you have - did you pitch it all and start fresh, or try to push it aside and ignore it? Can you identify with me when I say I've been living in a "haunted house"? How did it feel once you reclaimed your house?
|Linked to Michelle|