I spent the bulk of my time this weekend clearing out my father's musty home office. In its original incarnation, it was my older brother's bedroom. When Older Brother moved out, and took up residence with his lovely wife, my younger brother took it over. Then, Younger Brother moved out because his shenanigans were more then he wanted my parents to deal with.
That's when my father took over the space.
And boy, did he ever take it over. He immediately installed brackets and shelves, floor to ceiling, and filled it with books, video tapes, DVDs, cassettes, magazines, sheet music, musical instruments, pictures, bric-a-brac, bricks... But, mostly books. Big little books, Oxford English Dictionaries, pulp fiction crime novels, bibles, science fiction. Oh! The science fiction. My father WAS science fiction, honestly. If he'd held on for a few more years, he might've made the singularity.
But, back to the room. It's just a ten by twelve room. You wouldn't think that a room that size could hold so much stuff. I'm twenty bags of trash into this room, and it's still hemorrhaging refuse.
And getting rid of this stuff is hard, because so much of it is him.
This room? It's like a collapsing star. It siphoned in everything that was of interest to him. If you could chuck everything on these shelves, pinned to these walls, hanging from the drop-ceiling brackets, into an industrial blender and distill it, you would have my father's essence. He read every word, saw every picture, thumbed through every page.
And here I am, rummaging through his essence, and THROWING STUFF AWAY. I had a hard time with this, at first. Then I started think that maybe I was clearing the dross, the stuff that took up his brain space in his later years, the stuff that cluttered his mind. And maybe, by purging the weird nutritional supplement pamphlets, by getting rid of the old television recordings of the Pope's funeral, by tossing the forty-two Christmas cassettes, I am laying bare the brilliance. The brilliance, the faith, the dance into the arcane study of magic...
I am fascinated with him anew, and saying goodbye all over again.