“All Part of the Experience”

I finally got around to cleaning off John’s desk this past weekend, to starting the unpleasant chore of going through it and figuring out what to do with it all. I’ve avoided it, partly because I’ve been busy doing other things but also because I don’t know what to do with any of it. There are things that belong to others (the Navy, the university, employers) that need to be returned; there are things that have value to me (or the boys) or to someone out there and they need to be saved or passed on; and then there are things that only had value to John, and those are the things I don’t know what to do with. It’s uncomfortable to throw them away but ultimately that’s the only place for some of them. I’m donating anything that can be used by anyone else. But, for example, his business cards from all his business contacts over the last 10 years — who else could use those but him? Yet throwing them away requires confronting and admitting that things he valued now have no value, and that’s tough.

The answering machine is still my voice saying “you’ve reached John, Heather, Finn and Caden.” The phone rang the other night, caller ID said unavailable so I let the machine get it. The outgoing message played and Finn asked why the same person kept leaving that message about John, Heather, Finn and Caden. I explained that that was me telling people who they had called and that I needed to change it but I didn’t know how. Immediately upon saying that I realized that wasn’t the reason at all for why I hadn’t changed it (although true I don’t know how to change it). If I did know how, I wouldn’t. Because I’m just not ready to change it yet. And that’s OK.

I will leave his name on the checking account (per the lawyer’s recommendation, just in case years from now there are checks that come in in his name or in joint names and I need his name on an account to be able to deposit them). But I want to order new checks with just my name. It’s not to be mean or heartless; I’m just having to create an identity that’s all me and checks with just my name is part of that.

I guess the point of all that is to say I’m dealing with stuff, slowly but surely and in their own time, I’m dealing. And healing. And figuring things out.

“It’s all part of the experience” is a John-coined phrase that he said at times when things weren’t going as planned but when there was nothing you could do about it but just ride it out and accept whatever was going on as being part of it.

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