Today I sorted through a pile of cards I have received since John's death.
I was putting them away into a new memory box I bought today. This memory box is big, black and is going to be filled with the saddest memories of my life. I have decided NOT to throw away any of the cards. Because on days when I feel helpless and alone I will need to open the box and read their words of encouragement. But, going through the cards... and re-reading them... hurt. It brought everything back to the surface. I was amazed at some of the names on the cards... people I had forgotten sent them. Some were sent to me when I was still in a daze. I would open them those first two weeks and throw them on the pile of other ones. Cards with flowers and peaceful scenes with sunsets and trees and clouds and birds and dragonflies. Cards with neutral colors. Cards written in black ink and filled with words of hope... although I know those who wrote them feel completely helpless. And I know there is nothing they can say to bring John back to me. Because if there was. I would have been the FIRST to make it happen.
John and I used to have happy memory boxes. Filled with movie tickets stubs, programs from shows, concert stubs, holiday cards we gave each other, etc. It's those boxes I am dreading finding when we unpack on the 24th. But I will open it. I will go through each memory and I will cry for each of them. The memories I had. That I will never have again. At least with John.
Eventually I will get a chest. In this chest I can store all of John's items I feel the need to hang on to. His dirty clothes, his sweaters and jackets, his hats, his slippers, his glasses, his cologne...
I gave Evan, my best friend a memory box for Valentines Day a couple years ago. I should start one with Kelly and Andrea. A happy one filled with happy memories. Its something I recommend for everyone to have. It keeps those memories tucked away safely in a place where one day you can retrieve them and open the box to smile again. When you really need them. Or when you just want to laugh. At the silly things you keep. That two years ago you thought were important.
My weirdest item in my memory box?
Would be the little oxygen mask the EMT gave me after I had my first panic attack in 2007. We were in John's car. He was taking me to my first tennis lesson (he bought them for me for Valentine's day) and I got a phone call from my supervisor saying how he was disappointed in me and my internship (in the end it was a misunderstanding) but for me... it was critical. It was my life. It was my future. And I lost it. It started out crying and ended up a full blown panic attack. I didn't know what to do my heart rate was around 190... I was sweating profusely and my hands and joints got stiff and rigid. John freaked out and called 911 and pulled the car over. The ambulance have me oxygen and let me keep the mask to keep breathing into.
It was a scary situation for both of us. But for some reason I kept the mask. I tucked it inside the box. It was a memory after all.
From then on out... John handled all the panic attacks. He knew how to talk me through them, calm me down, get me to breathe....
There were two times when he wasn't there to help.
Both were in the summer when he was off in drum corps.
Now I am back to not having John help me.
I have little yellow pills.
I rather have the natural remedy. The John remedy.
Never would I have ever imagined that it would be John in the end... that gave me the most panic and anxiety in my life. The once only person that gave me calm... now gives me strife.
I can admit the medicine helps.
I can admit that Andrea and Kelly are being very helpful.
I can admit that I would trade everything for John.
this is a given.