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The Books

It’s now 18 months since my husband passed away. I’ve been getting by. Making due. Ends are meeting. I even managed to take one of my kids on a pretty amazing trip abroad for a week.

One kid is about to be of legal drinking age and the other to embark on her college career. It’s an exciting and frightening time. A lot of change looming but after the last decade, how hard could it be, really?

I‘ve been totally remiss about purging. For so many years I complained, often loudly, about our collections of things…not just mine, but also my husband’s…that we have too many, or they need to be edited, or managed, or given away or sold so we could make more room. For other things, for the sake of space alone, to clear our minds.

For years I threatened to empty our living room bookshelves of my husband’s book collections. Not all of them; I love books and I’m no monster. But he collected them without reading them. He would buy them with the fervor of an addict, but then just leave them, for me to find a place for. They aren’t a genre or style I enjoy which was my first reason for not reading them. But as time wore on and tension grew about them I attached an anxiety to them…an anxiety that was held back by the bookcases, stuffed inside the crevices between each book. It would escape sometimes when I’d have to rearrange them again to fit in another tome. And I’d hurriedly stack them back to leave that emotion behind.

I remember a moment in the days after he departed looking at the shelves and, for a moment, relishing in the idea of emptying so many of the shelves.

Eighteen months later, every book is still there. Not a page out of place.

I‘ve suggested to my son to read them all. He shares that affinity for that style with his father. He’s also a voracious reader who can burn through a series in no time flat.

I’ve been using that as my “gimmie”…letting the books stay. I think he’s using it as a delay…a way to keep parts of his dad around a bit longer.

But I think it’s finally time. At least for the books. So if any of you are Eric Lustbader, Terry Brooks, or Jim Patterson fans and want to add to your own collections, please reach out. They’ll move on to somewhere by the end of the month.

I’ll have some more room then. Space I wanted for so long. And now keep filled. I‘m not sure what it will be like to see them empty.

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