I have a host of small memento’s to my parent’s lives all over my home. Last month I saw that I still had my dad’s key wallet when I was digging through the key drawer. It’s in sad shape and had been when my Dad still carried it with him. What used to hold seven keys was now only managing two — and one of them was to a storage closet in their retirement community that was no longer theirs, but it didn’t matter so on the key wallet it remained.
That key wallet was part of my Dad’s habits. He never misplaced it, and always picked it up and put it in his pocket when we left their apartment … all the way into a moderate stage of Alzheimer’s. When I saw it last month, I thought about dropping it into the trash, but just wasn’t ready to do it. It brought to me a host of great memories.
It ended up in my key drawer because after my Dad passed away and my Mom came across it in her apartment, she asked me to take it to him in the hospital. The months after my Dad passed away were really difficult for us all, but most for my Mom who couldn’t remember he had died, because she was in a moderate stage of Vascular Dementia.
Why would I want to keep it?
I could still imagine it in my Dad’s hand and then him quickly dropping it into his pocket. When I held it, I could imagine he was still here for a moment. So I put it back in the key drawer. I wasn’t ready to toss it quite yet.
When my husband decides to attack the key drawer today, I notice this is sitting in the odd-ball pile. I pick it up, exhale, and let it drop into the trash. I’m ready to let go of this memento.
I don’t need to hold onto this sad key wallet with useless keys. I have a host of rich memories and traditions that allow me to let go and move on. It’s time. Celebrated.