Tracking, Packing and Sacking The Past,

Just lately – well effectively since being diagnosed with cancer again and having to wait what seems like an eternity to go for my surgery – I have been acutely aware of the changes I’ve encountered over the years in my sense of who I am and who I was.
This has often been brought into focus for me when I have revisited photos from my past life but very much more so these past few days as I have been going through my possessions in preparation for re-moving .

Walter and I decided it made sense to join households, and to investigate renting out my flat, a wee while before I got my diagnosis, and I couldn’t see any reason why the project should be put on hold.  I am needing to make what should be heartrending decisions about what to discard, what to put into temporary storage (with the scary possibility that they will still  have to go at a later date), and what of my past to take with me into my future.  However, I’m left feeling a bit numb and somewhat lacking – as though there ought to be far more emotion about making such big decisions.  Perhaps tackling moving home and starting the ‘flat project’ at the same time as facing lord knows what with the cancer, is a bit too much for my wee soul to manage .  I have been moved by the evidence of the previous me as seen in my various boxes of souvenirs,  dozens of photo albums etc., and I do jib a bit at effectively discarding what once was precious, but in general the main feeling I have is an intense impatience for it all to be over and done with.  To get my things moved, my cancer removed, my flat done and my equilibrium back.

Photos below show some boxes and bags containing my previous life,  packed ready to be collected by Marie Curie Cancer Care. 

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However, on a brighter note – yesterday I came across two scraps of paper with poems I had written many years ago.  One is a wee ditty which was part of a story I made up for my first granddaughter. The other was written when I had had about two years free of epilepsy which I believed I had achieved thanks to facing fears, and I recall being sure in my own soul that they had gone forever.  A couple of years later I started very gradually to reduce my anti-convulsant drugs until by 1998 I was free of them as well as the fits, and have remained so ever since.   I feel heartened by the positivity shown in the piece.  Maybe that Susan is not so very much different to this one after all.

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8 thoughts on “Tracking, Packing and Sacking The Past,

  1. Lizzie

    a hard time in your life again Susan, brave decisions about discarding items from your past life, but as you say – look to the future and you will be making new memories to cherish 🙂 xxxx

    1. susanannwales Post author

      Yep, the good thing is I already do have lots of “us” memories and souvenirs as well, so they can have pride of place, putting the “previous me” ones in a bit more perspective/context. Silly though it may be, joining the two teddy collections has been very helpful. :)xx

  2. Fiona

    When I moved in with George, I took all my clutter with me and it filled all the cupboards and spaces. I tried to fillet it, but each piece Had a memory, so I sat, reminiscing, ran out of time, and stuffed it back in the box or bag. Then I found a lovely lady called Louise who runs SPACE AND TIME -essentially a de cluttering service. She takes the emotion out, but in a positive way. She hauls it all out, then you decide – charity shop, recycling, bin or keep. she takes it away. First time she took 18 bags for charity, 6 to skip, another 6 to recycling. I felt so free afterwards. I said goodbye to the stress of all that stuff, and rediscovered books and nicnacs I can treasure more now that I can see them! I wasn’t ready for o let go of quite a lot, but got her back twice over the last two years and now feel I am free to acquire new memories.

    1. susanannwales Post author

      I think I have just gone past a point where that de-cluttering service would have helped but, if I have to prune/cull again when we take things out of temporary storage, I might call on her. It sounds a great idea.

  3. Fiona

    Oh, and forgot to say your poem is lovely, Susan. Your positive outlook will win through. Reminds me so much of my dear friend Anne who was showing me her newly tiled ensuite. She was about to start chemo.These are really expensive hand made Italian tiles, she said. I was surprised, as Anne was never exactly house proud. She went on to explain, Well, if I’m going to be throwing up in here I want to have something nice to look at while I’m doing it!

    1. susanannwales Post author

      Thank you. I had honestly forgotten all about the poem but when I read the words it did come back to me, and I was pleased I’d kept it. It had been shoved between poetry books so fell out as I was shifting them off the shelves. It is now in one of my souvenir boxes.


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