So Many Memories


February, 2018

All Things Tami
Divorce Insights

When I was leaving what was formerly known as my happy home, my ex-husband told me to take whatever I wanted on moving day. I wasn’t very good with the definition of “whatever,” and while I was nervous he would be upset about what I took away, the things I didn’t leave behind haunt me the most.

I would have made an excellent anthropologist as I document everything. Photos. Mementos. You name it, I keep it. During my relationship with my ex-husband, all 26 years of it, I recorded our entire history. From notes left on my windshield when we were dating to the giant Divorce Binder I created as those 26 years unravelled. Everything was documented and cataloged for future reference. I’m cursed with an incessant need to remember every detail about every single occasion.

When I left, I took all of that history with me. I should have left some of it there as a gentle reminder of what he was pushing aside. Instead, I stripped the house of nearly every clue of our life together. Without all the scrapbooks and photo albums, no mark of me was left. Unknowingly, I helped my ex-husband erase my very existence. I left only one photo of me – a family picture of us surrounded by our nieces & nephews that had been taken some 10 years earlier. A picture I’m pretty sure was promptly removed once he returned to the house. He had his girlfriend’s feelings to consider, you know.

And though I would like to think if I had left pieces of me behind, he would have been jolted into thinking he shouldn’t have given up on us so easily. But deep down I know all of those fragile pieces would have been tossed into the trash shortly thereafter anyway.

So, I have boxes upon boxes of memories, and I’m not quite sure what to do with all of it. I’ve heard some divorcees held a big burn party where they watched every memory – from family photos to their marriage license go up in the smoke of a bonfire. Others tell me they  boxed it all up and put it in storage facility – out of sight, out of mind. Others simply didn’t take any of the remembrances with them when they left their once happy homes.

Before, all of my scrapbooks and photo albums held a prominent place on the living room bookshelf. Now all those memories are in storage tubs in the basement of my new home.

Last summer, my ever vigilant sister came over and helped me sort through some of the boxes. We didn’t get very far. Do I pitch this stuff? Do I keep it? I couldn’t answer those questions last summer, and I’m not sure I can even now.

“The things I didn’t leave behind haunt me the most.”

For now, the 26 years of memories hang out in the basement. How long I’ll hang onto them, I’m not sure. But I do know I won’t have a big bonfire. Those memories mean too much to watch them burn away to ashes, as symbolic as that might be.

I know eventually I’ll need to sort through all those boxed up memories. Maybe one day… with a big glass of wine, and a little help from my sister.


A Little Tact, Please

Hey, we all disagree from time to time. But since this is my little universe, I reserve the right to remove comments that are mean-spirited or contain verbal violence. Divorce discussion can get passionate and that's okay. But let's keep it classy and help one another instead of hurting one another.  For full details on how things work here, see Rules of the Game.