It has been a little over two years since the passing of my husband, Morris Taylor. And strangely enough it is only now that I am beginning to finally clean up the house. You see, I have been holding on to Morris's possessions like a life preserver: afraid anything important to him during his lifetime was a dear treasure to him in the afterworld/life. I was worried that the absence of any of this stuff would send his spirit off to join the company of his first wife in the grave of far off Berrien Springs, never to be seen again. But this was really only the beginning.
For me, it was the start of the most elaborate and puerile superstitions I would acquire int eh coming two years. Fancying myself a devout a-religious person, I was horror stricken as I started believing in ghosts and spirits, talking to candles and all sorts of strange things all of which was somehow entwined with the compulsion to keep dear Morris with me. I actually believed that, if not bringing him back, these beliefs or faiths would keep him from going away.
After two years of tenacious disregard for reality (a trait I picked up from right wing politicians) I finally realizes these beliefs or faiths were actually nothing more than sentiment or wishful thinking born of a fear to go it alone. That somehow an enjoyment or a success without him would be a betrayal as if I didn’t need him any more. So I tried to perpetuate a need for him. Rather self-destructive since he wasn’t coming back—at least not in a form I would ever recognize again.
The futility and hopelessness was only stopped as I realized this was all a folly born of fear and in direct conflict with my deepest convictions: my a-religousness which I explain to you as a disinterest in religion of spirit as driver of anything other than good or bad literature.
I have settled back to my main belief, which is: God or spirits may or may not exist, but I would prefer not to mix in. Religion is a murky bog of quicksand, once ensnared you will find difficult to free yourself or even write about it with any hope for objectivity. So it’s best to just let those sleeping dogs lie and remain confident if there is a truth to any of it that will then take care of itself whenever or wherever it chooses. In the meantime I returned to my belief or faith that if I keep my nose clean I shall suffer the consequence, if any, with the equanimity I have suffered the loss of Master Morris Taylor the former CEO of my life.
So I am surprising myself with the alacrity and determination I now find in discarding Morris’s precious belongings. As dear as his rave review in the 1964 London Times was, it means nothing to me. Nor does, a very itchy afghan knitted by his derelict, if deceased, mother.
But the things I have the hardest time dealing with are the things that seem to have an apparent, if unknown, value.
For example, Morris did scrawl on a plastic envelope that this faded colorful circus advertisement from the Detroit Free Press of 1881 was a Strobridge Lithograph. I have no doubt it is worth the $3,000 he claimed but finding someone willing to pay it is another matter entirely (dear reader, care to buy it?).
Master Morris was a collector and collected things that really boggled my mind: a collection of antique postcards, old Seventh Day Adventist propaganda textiles, old sheet music, and my absolute least favorite and yet most ubiquitous: his rock collection. I can honestly say in the 8 years I have served and lived with Morris, this was the only practice of which I contemporaneously frowned upon, to very little effect. I had a recent visit with one of Morris’s children and could barely hide my glee—when I was trying to feign generosity—when he said he actually wanted the rock collection.
I was bitterly disappointed to see that he had scarcely picked through a tenth of the collection. But he made the point I am grappling. He took just those stones—regardless of its aesthetic quality—which he had collected with his father when they were in Maine. These stones had more than intrinsic beauty or value to him. I was giving them away until a horrified friend told me I was throwing away untold amounts of money—and that really didn’t bother me except the fear I was wasting something. I mean I could auction them off and give the money to charity that does far better work than those who just took his rocks away.
But rocks are the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended): he collected all sorts of antiques, memorabilia and other things I can only best describe as junk.
But the Indian Spring cleaning has been thwarted by these so-called or presumably valuable items. I don’t really know what todo with them. So I hope I discern the junk and just throw it away (first offering it to family or friends who might be attached to them in some sentimental way. For the rest. I wish I could shovel them all on to the set of Antique Roadshow and be done with them. None of these things embody Morris’s spirit or what he meant to me—except the rocks and that’s a negative influence.
I need not fear that I am getting rid of Morris’s memory. His brilliant watercolors still line the house, yielding only for one wall that has the paintings I have used on the covers of the books I have or will have written. But even then, if the house succumbed to fire or earthquake, I am left with such rich memories and life lessons that my life even without all that stuff is still a living tribute to him.
The bright spot in all this, apart from relieving myself of unproductive superstitions if making the house more my own a place I can live in the present.
But you can take away from everything he ever touched and what I am left with is an enduring emptiness in my heart, a place where he once resided. Even if I get blessed to have a new love or a new husband, he will take his place alongside Morris. The hole Master Morris left in my heart shall never fill up—no curator can touch that. Its this emptiness that I treasure and proof of my deep and abiding love for him.
Did I also mention he has a substantial post card collection of rare and…