At the risk of sentimentality, triteness, and self-absorption, I guess I'll throw this comment out to those to whom it might be relevant. In the incredible annual burst of renewal -- blossoms, birdsong, the occasional thunder storm, I feel almost as ambivalent as I ordinarily do in autumn. It hit me as I began to trade woolens for cottons in my closet. It seemed to me that almost every item I moved into the garment bag stirred recollections I don't need right now. So did the ones I took out. Memories of an event I we attended while wearing it, or the day the absent one picked it out when we were shopping together, or that he gave it to me.
I had a hard time with removing his ingenious raccoon deterrent (an electric fence transformer wired to the iron hangers for our bird feeders, deck railing covered with unsightly aluminum flashing) in the hope that I can get the deck reconditioned this summer. Every room in this house bears his signature. He hung nearly all the pictures, all the curtain rods, constructed shelves, planted half the shrubs and all the roses. He took care of fertilizing the lawn and cleaning the goldfish pool, wired for hi-fi, helped choose all the furnishings we didn't inherit. Stifling my extreme reluctance a few months ago, I managed to make a couple of necessary alterations both indoors and out.
I got my comeuppance pretty fast from the raccoons. It took them about a week to discover they could raid at will. I had a hard time chasing two of them off at 9:30 at night. Now I have to take the hanging feeders in at night, and forget about filling the big one on a post because the beasts have figured out how to get seed out without putting weight on the perches and closing the openings. Three pounds gone in a single night. They drained the hummingbird feeder too.
It crossed my mind that maybe the fact that we neither want to forget nor can, could be made more tolerable if we could make really drastic changes. For instance, if we could afford to, exchange all the familiar and loved things around us with all new from Pottery Barn or Ikea. Put all the family photos that aren't already in them into albums, maybe even move. Let the happy memories sympathy notes remind us to to lean on come so they can't drown us. I know a few who have done that, but I don't know if it helped.