On My Mind: Treasures in My Basement

I have a lot of stuff. I am sure I cannot be labeled as a “hoarder”, but I am also sure that I have no idea how any one person could collect so many things. I’d love to say that every last thing I have is a treasure, but, in most cases, it is just plain stuff. I have been de-cluttering my life this week and it will probably take me many more weeks to work through the things I have collected.

Did you know that I used to have a handmade card business?
Well, I did. AND, I have the stamps, punches, scissors, paper, cardstock, and envelopes to prove it.

Did you know that I used to be a Peer Parent with DCFS?
Well, I was. AND, I have all the files, documentation, lesson plans, and materials to prove it.

Did you know that I tore out pages upon pages from the Martha Stewart magazine,
categorizing them in files so that I would use her ideas someday?

Well, I did. AND, when I tried making her marshmallows one Christmas,
it was a complete disaster and I decided then and there
that many of her ideas are not worth trying.
But, I kept the files.

Did you know that I used to direct a preschool program at the University of Utah?
Well, I did. AND, of course, I have everything to prove it.

Maybe I should say I “had” all of those things since I have purged with great passion and my recycling bin now contains those things that have not been viewed or touched in 5 years. I should admit that letting go of so many parts of my past was difficult and freeing all at the same time.

Who am I kidding? I will probably need therapy. There were moments when I nearly hyperventilated.

Shall I get to the point? Among my treasures, I found many things that proved their worth enough that they will be kept. Let me share two of them with you…

  • I came upon a half sheet of paper, torn on one edge, folded in half, and upon which is written a quote in the perfect penmanship of my childhood friend, Merideth. I knew instantly whose writing it was. I cannot tell you the flood of sweet and enduring memories that washed over me as I saw it. As I read the quote, I know why I kept it:

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.
It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,
but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”
(Arthur Ashe)

  • Since I have no idea where it came from, all that is important is that I kept it. I have a list titled “Myths About Grief” compiled from “Grieving: How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies” by Theresa A. Rando, Ph.D. The list is both thought-provoking and applicable in many situations, not just when some one we know dies.

Here are some of the myths included on the list…

  1. All losses are the same.
  2. It takes two months to get over your grief.
  3. All bereaved people grieve the same way.
  4. When grief is resolved, it never comes up again.
  5. Family members will always help grievers.
  6. Feeling sorry for yourself is not allowable.
  7. Because you feel crazy, you are going crazy.
  8. Loss of an infant shouldn’t be too difficult to resolve because you didn’t know the child that well.
  9. Being upset and grieving means that you do not believe in God or trust your religion.
  10. There is something wrong with you if you think that part of you has died.
  11. Grief will only affect you psychologically.
  12. It is not important to have a social support in your grief.

None of these statements are true. Can you relate to any of them? I sure can. Grief and mourning are very real parts of infertility.

“With infertility, explains psychologist Dr. Beth Cooper-Hilbert, ‘there are multiple losses: loss of children, genetic continuity, pregnancy, control, and loss of an important life goal’ (Infertility and Involuntary Childlessness, 34).

“And, every month when menstruation begins, these losses are relived. Disappointment is inevitable. Mourning is an essential and healthy part of dealing with disappointment. Dr. Cooper-Hilbert says, ‘Spouses go through stages of mourning much like they would with terminal illness or the death of a loved one. They experience a deep sense of loss each month with the onset of menstruation’ (ibid. 39).

“Give yourself permission to experience the full range of emotions. It is okay to cry. It is okay to feel sad. It is okay to be angry. Recognize that your feelings are normal. Allow yourself time away from regular life. Give yourself permission to mourn. Mourning can cleanse your soul of sadness.

“When we learned that our second IVF cycle was not productive, Joel and I cried together. We spent the rest of the day alone. We ate out for lunch and for dinner. We laid low and watched a movie that night. We discussed our sorrows. We wondered why Heavenly Father had allowed us to spend thousands of dollars on something that would not work. We agreed that we did not understand His particular plan for us, but that there must be some sort of a plan. We allowed ourselves to mourn that day. Were we back to normal the next day or the next? No. The sting of sorrow was still there, but we did not feel like crying every two seconds. Why? I think three things contributed to our ability to handle the situation. One, I truly believe that we gathered strength from prayer. When we arrived home after receiving the news, we prayed for comfort, peace, and a greater understanding—quite honestly, that was a very hard prayer to offer. Two, I think that sharing a day of mourning allowed us to release a good portion of our emotions. Three, the wonderful support of family. My compassionate sister invited us over to dinner the following day. She did not force us to join them. And, our loss was not the topic of dinner conversation. Allowing time for our hearts to heal enough to continue on was pivotal in our ability to cope with these feelings of great sorrow.” (Excerpted from Infertility: Help, Hope, and Healing, by Kerstin Daynes)

How grateful I am for the small treasures that have a way of sneaking into our lives again, providing help, strength, and perspective. How grateful I am that even though I experienced hyperventilating and exhausting good-byes to my past,  I was able to come upon wonderful parts of my life that have taught me in small yet powerful ways.

That recycling truck better come quick before I second guess my decision to throw all that stuff away!


2 November 2010

On My Mind Archives


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  • I’m not sure if I can even muster any better response to this. Except. Thank you. I’ve needed this lately.

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