When it first happened, I had a big reaction against possessions, all the things in our (my) house. What value does some small trinket have, when you’ve lost the biggest, most precious thing that was in your life? What’s the point of collections of china and horse models, of thousands of books and CDs? I would have given everything, every last possession without question for his life, so what’s left is meaningless.
But then I’ve gone through a phase of valuing the familiarity of the things I own. I’ve lost him, but I’ve still got some other things from my previous life. Now possessions seem precious again. Of course no-where near as precious as him, but reminders of so many past times and different places. And they have given me pleasure and comfort, to hold something, to look at things.
I’ve pulled out my collection of brooches – they look so beautiful all together, a shame no-one else sees them. I have put miscellaneous objects which I’m coming across in my clear out in a cabinet, things that catch my fancy, that’d I’d forgotten I owned. Some wooden carved lizards, a painted ostrich egg, an unusual teapot. Am I allowed to enjoy them? Am I allowed to spontaneously order another Breyer horse model on the internet, even though I’m supposed to be packing the collection up and throwing things away? Just because it gave me a moment of pleasure to choose it, to unpack it, to have it in my hand?
I suppose I’m like a child with an urge to have a new toy for comfort.
The trouble is I think I’m going full circle again. What will happen to these things when I’m gone? Who will care? What’s the point of possessions? What’s the point of anything?
How poignant that things – all those museums and shops and houses full of things – outlive people. He’s gone forever, but the little round Bakelite container he so liked sits on a shelf still, guiltily (unforgivably) continuing to exist.