Monday, June 4, 2012

Possessions matter.

There’s that old “cliché” or general sentence that millions of people say all the time…the one about material possessions meaning nothing and that people are all that really matter in this life.

In the middle of a tragedy people say that a lot. Too much. Especially once the tragedy is over and every human is alive, well and accounted for. Once that is a known truth – then pretty much the first words out of anyone’s mouth that you meet will say, “Thank God no one was hurt.” Or “You’re so lucky no one died. Or “You can replace things but you can’t replace people.”

I wanted to shank them in the lips every time they said it.

I wanted to scream, “SHUT THE F*CK UP!!!” as I wallowed in the pain of what I lost, felt like I couldn’t get up off my knees and couldn’t stop hating God.

Because you see – after every human that I love was fine…the possessions meant everything. Maybe they shouldn’t – but the reality is that they do. The other reality is that you can’t replace everything. That’s a damn lie.

I know when people said that to me and our family after the flood took away my parent’s home in less than 5 minutes – that it came from love. It came from a good place. It came from a place of not knowing what else to say. It always came with hugs and tears falling down their cheeks.

But I still cringed every time I heard it.

Lately I’m being reminded of the loss of the physical things. Why now? After all, it’s been months since family randomly called me to say, “The house is no longer standing. It was torn down today.” It’s been exactly that long since I’ve wept or cried a single tear about that house and that day.

They tore down the house and all that remained were cement pads and a few other boards so people driving by knew at some point there was something there.

In the last few days though, men have been ripping up the last shreds of any human life there. The lot has to legally be returned to nature. In a few months – there will be no remnants of our family left.

I still can’t look at it when I drive by. I swear to you if I even catch a glimpse it’s like a dagger being shoved in my heart and I inhale my breath and the pain comes back until I let out my breath.

Every time that happens I wonder, “When will I able to look there and not feel pain?”

When will I ever not be angry at the possessions we can never get back? Possessions that others say don’t matter – because we all survived.

The spot in the garage where Rambo first kissed me. The room upstairs I ran to when anything in life hurt me.

Things like those meant everything but the worst one I think is my baby pictures and all the pictures of my siblings and I growing up. The ones that tell stories about our childhood.

The pictures of homemade birthday cakes and slumber parties. The rare pictures of my Dad holding me as a baby. The one with us and our pet dog named BJ. The proof that my kids look just like I did when I was little.

I miss the stories that those pictures would have made me remember. I miss that without them I won’t remember and won’t tell my kids.

The depth of sadness over never sharing an album with my kids or grandkids or even Rambo hurts at the core of who I am.

But everyone is alive. So people think it shouldn’t still hurt.

Everyone survived. It shouldn’t still be hard to look at that blank piece of earth where I spent summer days playing.

When I drive by lately and they are down there wiping away any remnant of what existed…part of me wants to run screaming at them, “STOP – get away. Get off MY property.”….right before I remember it’s not mine anymore. I suppose it never really was. I never really owned it….it owned me.

It came from nature and it’ll go back to nature. Animals will be its only inhabitants. And under the dirt and washed away in the flood rivers go those precious possessions that I can’t let go of.

Yes, it is true. Lives and people matter so much more than possessions. But I find that once lives and people are all okay – the only thing your mind focuses on are the possessions lost.

I’ve even figured out the reason behind the flood…that even a year ago I didn’t know. I get it. It makes sense. I’m no longer angry. But I’m still pretty bitter.

And sad. Ateensy part of me will always be sad.

That the rooms and pictures that told the story of my life are gone….and nothing can bring them back. While it’s true they remain in my head…pictures jolt the memory and in time, memories fade – while pictures do not.

It’s simply not fair.

I’ll always be grateful that possessions are the only things we lost that day. But I’m not too proud or ashamed to admit that damn….some of those possessions sure meant a hell of a lot to me.

Call me shallow if you must.

It's the truth.


Jody V said...

I can only imagine how you feel. I only had the basement flooded and I'm bitter. My family pics were lost in 2 floods at my grandmothers house. Like you was all gone in 5 minutes. Hang in there!

LuckyEight16 said...

I am so sorry that happened. The house I live in is not only the house I grew up in, it's the house that my GREAT grandparents bought. My entire dining room set was my great grandmothers, and you know what? That is stuff that can't be replaced. Your pictures, your memories, they cannot be replaced. And you have every right to grieve the loss of things that meant a lot to you. Even though they weren't living things, they were still special and it's okay to be upset about it. I cried for almost a week over a cell phone once. Because that phone had pictures of my daughter when she was born and videos of my son holding his baby sister that I had never transferred. That phone ended up getting run through the washing machine once. That was it. All my pictures, all my videos gone. It was devastating.

LDswims said...

I agree, things do matter. We attach a lot of significance to certain things. I have a thing that I would be devastated to lose. My mom made it for me. Designed it and made it. It's a 3D stained glass "thing". It has three sides and it literally looks like a bouquet of tulips. My mom knew tulips were my favorite so she figured out how to make this tripod looking thing of tulips. My mom made that for me. I have never seen anything like it, so it's special in that regard, but above all else, my mom made it just for me. That's just one of many things that has a significance attached to it that makes it special. When we evacuate for hurricanes - that "thing" has it's own specially made case with padding to travel in.

But what happens if it's not a hurricane and we don't have time to evacuate?

I get it. You are right. Pictures jolt memories. My mom and all her siblings lost every single one of their childhood photos because my twin uncles played with matches and burned the house down. I would've never been able to see what my mom looked like as a baby if one of my great-aunts hadn't had her own set of photos. But it still wasn't the same. She had snapshots here and there which just left big gaps and more questions.

Things matter. If they didn't, we would never worry about their preservation!

Love you!

terbear287 said...

We had an apartment fire when my daughter was three. You are right there are things that mean a lot. My boyfriend had already experienced one fire in his youth that took everything and he learned from that. When this fire happened he was so angry that this could happen to him a second time in his life. He still has items, melted beyond recognition in his storage unit. He would get angry at me for saying just throw it away it is just stuff we can replace it. The way we dealt with the situation was very different, I wanted all visual items and anything that was marked by smoke or smelled like fire out of my life I wanted to just move on... he needed to try to repair, salvage, or donate anything possible. It was one of the hardest things I ever went through. I do understand what you mean though, luckily he knew where the pictures and computer were and was able to tell the fire department and they covered the area and protected it from water damage. It was a dark, icky time in our life that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy!

Maria said...

I agree too Draz. Sure it's all socially correct and what-not to "forget" the material things and focus on the people, but when the initial craziness and emotion passes, you are left with the enormity of all the STUFF that is not there. It's true -- it can't be replaced. And it made me tear up when you mentioned not being able to remember stories from those pictures. It's heartbreaking. Ahhh! What are we to do? We sentimental souls!

jennxaz said...

sometimes people should just not say anything! I feel for you reading that and I am sorry.

Karen Butler Ogle said...

You are not shallow, Drazil. It is normal to miss those things which have had some meaning to them for us. I would be the same way. I was inconsolable when my ex destroyed the box of memories I had had since elementary school. These things meant nothing to anyone else but to me they were precious.

I dropped by to tell you have taken my blog private. I want you to have access but I don't know how to invite people yet. This is the result of a very vicious attack on me and my family by someone who is very familiar with my life from my blog. I intend to go anonymous but will let you know it is me. As soon as I figure it all out, I will be in touch. Hugs.

Sandy said...

I've been cleaning out my basement and have been finding things from long ago so I know how important the "thing" is to jolt our memory. I had a small locket given to me when I was a flower girl and it was stolen from the jewelry store when I took it in for repair. No value but the replacement ment nothing to me.

Just a suggestion which you are already doing. Start a memory book and when you remembers something--like that first kiss in the garage, write it down. Then when your memory starts to go (I know that will NEVER happen!) you can pull it out. Maybe add some sketches. And start taking pics of some of the important things in your life. I'm throwing out or giving away a bunch of old stuff, but now, I'll take some pics of my old train set, my church diploma's for perfect attendance and one day I can look back and remember.

So sorry you are feeling this way. It is hard when people don't know what to say because it is like a death, not being able to touch or see that which was precious. {{{{HUGS}}}}

Laura Belle said...

Yes they do matter. They're are the gateway to our memories. And its ok to miss them just the same as you would a person. Hugs!

Chris said...

You are not shallow. Your posts are some of the most deeply-felt thoughts I've ever read.

I'm sorry for the loss of your home, and all of the attendant possessions - I can't imagine how devastating it must be.

angel shrout said...

Sweetie missing the things is absolutely okay. It is not like you are missing a purse or whatever, you are missing the things that held your life in them. Pictures, the bed you slept in, the kitchen you watched your momma cook in. I completely get it. It is ok and it is ok to be mad.

becca said...

history matters, memories matters, prove that these things happen matter just because they are material things doesn't mean they don't they were a part of you so there for they matter it's like losing a part of you. So grieve , get mad, feel what you must because it all matters..hugs

Amy said...

you have every right to feel the way you do! don't feel guilty, you're being human, Draz. :)

MandaPanda said...

Of course they matter. And I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it comes from a place of not knowing what else to say. Those "things" are memories...not just things. When our own memories fail us or start to get fuzzy, those "things" make them fresh again. I can't imagine how hard it is to not have those. ((HUGS))