Wednesday, 25 March 2009


It's hard work, this cleaning stuff. Not just physically hard, but emotionally draining. Every pile of clutter contains something to remind me of Goldie. What's important, what do I need to keep? And what to I need to let go?

I have a box of files relating to her education - they're irrelevant now; they can disappear. I have bags of bits relating to her medical stuff - copies of old reports, out of date letters, they can all go. Christmas cards, Easter cards, Get Well Soon cards; all these have gone. But for some reason letting go of the Birthday Cards is harder. Goldie's Birthday was near Christmas; as far as she was concerned, Christmas was just one long celebration of her own birth and life. Cake after cake after party after party; how many other children have the whole school hold plays and concerts in honour of their Birthdays? Short of confidence, she was not! And so many people who didn't see her very often used to send her cards. I saved them all, planning to put them into her journal one rainy day.

Well the rain came and the hot floods rose, and the book never got finished. And I'm not sure that I want to finish it now. Ending it with her Birthday cards would be false; ending it with sympathy cards and funeral cards would mean either drastically editing them or else having more than half the book be about her death instead of her life. So I'm stalling on that; a handful of birthday cards is not the mountain of clutter which had overtaken this house before I started.

Photographs. So many photographs. A computer full of them, a hard drive filling rapidly, and so many printed off. Many which I printed for her funeral collage and then didn't use. I have electronic copies; I don't need the physical ones. A few I could frame, but to frame them all would be to fill even more of our walls with Goldie Composites; and whilst her smile was pretty spectacular, I don't really want this house to be a shrine to Goldie. An Album might be sensible, but do I really want an album full of rejects? And yet, to throw them away means sorting through them carefully; double checking that I do have the digital copy and haven't confused my own photos with gifts, and it means doing it at a time when the girls aren't around so Little Fish doesn't get cross with me. She likes sorting through Goldie photos. Maybe that's reason enough to keep them still in their little box, watching the numbers of them slowly drop as they get chopped up, scribbled on, dribbled on, and force fed yoghurt. And it's only a little box, not as if it takes up too much space, right?

Unused emergency personal casette players. Who uses these any more? Goldie used to get through one a month; one a week in holiday time. Not just chewing through the headphones (got a fair few of them too) but clattering them to the floor and munching on the buttons and dribbling into the battery cases. And they're only small packages, they don't need much room...

Back up voices from Elmos past. Goldie loved a particular singing Elmo. Only one type, only one song, and only one particular version of that one song. No substitutes. And again, loving destruction rate fairly high. The bears seem to have disappeared (although I think there may be three lurking in my bedroom somewhere), but the guts, the noise boxes, are stacked behind my knitting needle boxes. And they're Goldie's voice - how can I throw them away? And yet, how can I bear to let anyone else play them?

More photographs. A gift photograph. Not a beautiful photo necessarily, but a representative ragamuffin photograph, a happy smiling relaxed Goldie chilling out in her new home, Elmo beside her, legs all over the place, hair wild and hands dancing. Precious to me because it is proof that she was happy even when I wasn't there. That's reassuring. And only one copy, so important to keep it safe.

In another pile, an unused photo frame. Not a perfect match, but the right size, good and solid, and nicely protective. It is as I slide the photo into the frame that I notice the date. It is dated the evening before Goldie had her accident. It is, therefore, a photograph of her last whole day. The last day she danced without pain, the last day her body worked in the way it worked for her, the last day she sat up or sprawled on the floor or ate or drank or did anything but suffer. The last day she wore clothes.

And I lie; it is a beautiful photograph.

And my heart hurts.


Anonymous said...

Aw Tia---I think I understand a bit--especially about the heart hurting. As awful as it sounds--I could almost wish Carlos could be back with us--even though I know he is whole and healthy and in a perfect place--I'd love to hold him close again.
And as much as our hearts hurt--we have at least had the blessing of having them in our lives--something I wouldn't change--but for now I live with the precious memories and aching heart.
You're in my prayers tonight.

Alesha said...

{murmuring consoling sounds while polishing your elbow...}

{big hug}

Doorless said...

Debra said it so well. I too, hve photos of Amber I just cannot part with. Some dear friend made a collage for her celebration of life I cannot bear to take apart and replact the photos in her album. I have hidden them behind the dresser in the room she shared with Mikayla.
Debra is right ouyr lives were better for knowing these children. Goldie was such a lovely free spirited young woman with her tosseled red-gold hair. You always managed to catch her essence beautifully and I can picture her singing with her Elmo and laughing wildly. I miss her too and not nearly as much as you.
Both of our girls were taken in such a horrible way. They both should still be alive. I think that is what makes it so hard to move beyond.
I will pray for you as you continue on this journey.

Anonymous said...

Hugs & Prayers!


Claire said...

I am very sorry for your pain and admire your resilience.

Anonymous said...

The pain in your heart, I feel that too


Tina said...

I havent seen the photo but you describe it as the Goldie I remember...I think there are a fair few people who will always remember Goldie and Elmo singing at Eve's dedication!
Holding you close in thought and prayer.

Robyn said...

My heart hurts for you and I cant wait to see this picture in this frame. She was always beautiful.

You mean there's more??? said...

Thinking of you, she was a star as we would say round here.

I am so glad I knew her if only briefly.



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