After my nanna's funeral my mother and her sisters set to the task of sorting and clearing their childhood home of her personal effects. The task weighed heavy on their hearts as they dredged through the mementos, each sibling recollecting different details from their collective past.
How many of us believe that we know our loved ones completely? I would not have guessed that my nanna had secrets. Nonetheless, even she had a couple of big ones. The first was revealed on her death certificate, she was five years older than she had declared to all. It had embarrassed her that she was older than my granddad. The second secret lay hidden in a suitcase in the loft. A letter and a photograph from her first fiance Gerald who had been killed during WWII.
Relating to a close friend the story of my nanna's box of keepsakes she disclosed that she had a box of love letters that she could not part with. Another friend a similar story. Then this weekend I found myself somberly searching for the grave of a young woman whose memory had also been kept alive in a box concealed in the attic. The morning was bitter cold and emphatically in keeping with proceedings.
Which got me to thinking, how many of us have a secret past lover for whom we have mementos that we cannot throw away? Do we innocently omit from our consciousness that our hidden boxes may inadvertently cause pain to others in there discovery? Or do we instead consciously stubbornly refuse to let go at whatever cost? I afraid I think it’s the latter.