Preservation

Dearest Rachel –

Today was my third trip to Goodwill in the last seven days. All part of the deep cleaning process Jan has been putting me through. I mean, when were we going to get around to using these things, especially when we couldn’t even get to them?

But we’ve made so much progress, honey. You might even be pleased to see that we could even get your car into the garage at this point.

Of course, this comes at a price, doesn’t it?

All this, you would have considered to be firewood. It would be wrong to not use it for that purpose – let alone chucking it into a dumpster.

I’ve mentioned before how everyone tells me I’m doing the right thing, and it will become so much clearer as we make more progress. But for now, knowing what you would think continues to sting.

One of the last things we pulled out of the garage was the case your dad had marked “Sanders” in great big letters. Turns out (though you would have been able to tell us had you been there) we found your dad’s old camcorders – both of them in the one suitcase, but fitting nice and snug.

I really don’t know if anyone will have a use for them, but Daniel and I certainly won’t. I’m so sorry, honey, but they need another home – this just isn’t it anymore.

And that’s what brought me back to the local Goodwill, among way too many other things. For once, no one was out there to bring a cart for me to fill with donations, but since there were several just sitting there outside, I just grabbed one and filled it up.

As I was wheeling it inside, an employee came to take it from me. “Do you want a receipt for that?”

What would be the point? How do you value stuff you’re trying to get rid of? “No, just… be careful with that stuff, okay? There’s some… breakable stuff in there.”

In that same strip mall is… supposedly… an iFix outlet. The guy at the Verizon store told me that he could not download the data from your phone, but a cell phone repair store like this could. I just want to hear your voice again, even if it’s only:

“Hi, we can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and number, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks, bye!”

“Hi, we can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and number, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks, bye!”

“Hi, we can’t-“

I can’t.

Turns out, the place is locked up, even at this hour of the afternoon. It looks like Covid took out another business. And it’s going to be a while before I hear even that pedestrian bit of your voice again.

Honey, we know people who refuse to let people take their picture or record their voice. I’m not sure exactly why they have such a problem with it. Maybe they don’t consider themselves photogenic – after all, it’s why I was hoping to use animation on my YouTube channel rather than reveal my face, even though I’m no artist. Maybe they don’t think they take a good picture (you always complained that your smile never looked natural when you saw it in a photo) or their voice just sounds weird (although, in fairness, I think everyone’s voice sounds like that to themselves – though I have less of a problem with mine than, say, Daniel does with his. Maybe I’ve lived with mine that much longer, I dunno).

But the thing is, when you’re gone, there’s never enough of you left behind for the rest of us to remember you by. We need pictures, we need sound, we need… something that resembles you.

More than most people, I’m aware that I forget things that happen in my life. I made a point of deliberately erasing my junior high school years, as they were (like they were for most people) just terrible. Most of the memories I have left of that time and place are thanks to my folks, who recall them (and me) much more fondly.

The trouble is, I got too good at it, and the events of the past can be washed away like sand castles in the tide. I worry about what of you I might forget over time, unless…

…unless I document what I can while it’s still fresh in my mind. And even now, most of what I’m writing is more about telling you my day than recounting our days together that have fallen behind us both.

I need to preserve what I have, while I still have it…

…before I don’t have it any more.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: