Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mourning Inanimate Objects: All Aboard the Crazy Train



I have written several posts in the last few years about getting rid of things around my house, whether it was by choice or by force.  The huge TV of my husband's that made us all nauseous to watch:  CHOICE.  The dryer that we bought used when we were first married in 1996 and then had the nerve to croak 13 years later:  FORCE.

Very few people understand what it means to get emotional about a dryer.  It's almost impossible to explain to others how sad we were when we threw away that promotional pen from the dentist's office that dried up, but was our spouse's favorite.  Not everyone gets why we've held on to a broken down chair because getting rid of it would be like abandoning one of our children.

But as we all know, it's hard.  It's like another small death, a piece of our loved ones that we grieve over and over again.  If it were up to me, I would probably have piles of dirt all over my backyard where I've buried and mourned all of these things.  A huge one for the first couch we bought together, but eventually sounded like it was going to break in two every time we sat down on it so I had to replace it.  A small one for the VCR we bought each other as a joint Christmas gift the year we got engaged.  Tiny holes for all of the tools I have gotten rid of throughout the years because I either discovered that we had three of one item or I knew I would never figure out how to use them.

And now, a new object is about to join all that has been lost.

My printer.

Now, I'm not as emotional about the printer as I was about the dryer and I don't know why.  Maybe it's because more time has passed and I've healed a little more or maybe we just weren't as close as the dryer and I were.  But, the truth is...we have been through a lot together. 

When I went to the store to buy a new printer the other day (because my old one died in the flood in my office this summer - my only major casualty), I asked a salesman to help me figure out what I needed.

"I had my old printer for twelve years," I said.  "So I don't even really know what I want."

"Twelve years?" He said in disbelief.  "That is a really long time."

And when he said that, it hit me...all of the things that old printer and I have been through together.

printing baby pictures of my first child
getting my husband through grad school
countless resumes
the eulogy my father-in-law wrote for my husband's funeral
Christmas newsletters
emergency contact forms for the kids
retreat handouts for theWiddahood.com
excerpts of books on their way to getting published

That printer has seen me through the best and worst times in my life.  It has never failed, never jammed, and was always faithful as if to say, "I will always be here for you."

And so this morning I raise my cup of tea to my printer.  You were appreciated and you will be missed.  And I'm sorry that I am not ballsy enough to bury you in the backyard, in a way you should be honored.  Because while I am grateful for you, I am not willing to get committed for you.

My neighbors have witnessed enough and that could be what finally forces them to make that call.



Widow Chick (aka, Catherine Tidd) is the owner of www.theWiddahood.com and the author of the upcoming memoir Confessions of a Mediocre Widow (Jan. 2014).  She is also a writer for The Denver Post's Mile High Mamas and a contributor to several books on grief and renewal.