Take only what’s important

green pumpsAlmost 20 years ago, I filled a few suitcases full of my daughters’ clothes and comfort items – toys, blankets, etc. Threw a few of my own essentials into a bag, and escaped to safety. Once the dust settled, memories of baby books and other special items would fill my heart with sadness. I would find myself thinking “Where did I put that?” then remember that I would never again have what I was looking for. A program about a family that had lost everything in a fire gave me an idea for how to deal with my missing treasures. “It was lost in the fire,” became my coping metaphor. And of course, my children and I were safe. That was, by far, of utmost importance.

Then the most ridiculous thing happened, I thought of my beautiful Kelly green grosgrain pumps that had a bow on the heel. My heart broke and I began to cry. “Are you kidding me?” my brain screamed at me. For days I lamented those shoes, not the Steiff bear, not the girls’ pictures, not my books, or anything else of sentimental value. Those damn shoes haunted me. The reasoning behind this never did become clear, but I can only imagine that it was easier for me to deal with a silly pair of shoes instead of the heartache of leaving behind important mementos.

The Things We Leave Behind


17 thoughts on “Take only what’s important

  1. I can see how that would happen. When I get overwhelmed or traumatized, one thing will stick in my head and I keep saying it out loud, driving my poor husband nuts. I think your shoes represented all that you lost. Maybe you were just lamenting everything through the shoes.

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  2. I don’t think the shoes were unimportant. There’s something about shoes. When we went to the Holocaust Museum in DC the exhibit that totally undid me was a displace of children’s shoes. They had been removed as soon as they’d gotten tot he camps and thrown in a pile. There were tons of them in the display. They made me cry. When I found my mom has passed away in her sleep I was ok until I walked into the bathroom and saw her tennis shoes sitting neatly on the floor by the hamper with her socks stuck in them. They made me cry, too. I don’t know what it is about shoes, but there’s some kind of primal connection I feel. Maybe you did, too?

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  3. I had what we call in Australia a station wagon vehicle. I was able to take clothes, the kids doona, my sewing machine and their bikes. Not all of our clothes mind you, but some. I still look for things and remember I don’t have them 16 years later. Later I was able to freight up some of my things, but his new wife packed them…. In amongst it all were dirty dishcloths and washing up brushes. He had picked over the photos, but I got my wedding dress, which my deceased mother had made and my dressing table. But she left all the good stuff. I lamented a cup and saucer set that my Aunty Florida gave me…. Royal Winton. Many years later a friend replaced it as a birthday gift. He had remembered me telling him about it and found a replica at an antique store. I suppose I had the most precious things of all…. My kids. I


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