Monday, March 22, 2010

Courtney Love Isn't My BFF, But We Have Things In Common

All day I’ve tried to write about several things – my weekend in Chicago, how it feels to have not exercised in six days, my new-found love for porcini mushrooms – but it is March 22 and there’s nothing much else on my mind except Bruce. He died 27 years ago today.

So, if you would indulge me, I’m posting this piece I wrote three years ago. I post this in memory of Bruce and to lend a voice to those who’ve lost someone, too. Grief sucks, but it’s through remembering that we continue to heal.

I have a friend who is friends with a woman who recently met Courtney Love by chance in Hawaii and the two of them spent an evening in the hotel bar smoking cigarettes and talking.

Nothing cool like that ever happens to me, and if it did, I don’t have enough in common with Courtney Love to keep her attention for longer than it would take for me to light a match for her ciggy. I don’t smoke or do drugs (is wine a drug?). I was never in rehab. I pretty much respect authority and don’t wear a lot of lipstick. I’m not tall, I don’t wear cool clothes, I can’t play guitar, I don’t write music, I’d starve if I tried to be an actress, while I’d love to marry Justin Hayward or Jon Bon Jovi, I doubt I’ll ever marry a rock star.

It would seem Courtney Love and I are quite opposite, but her recent decision to sell Kurt Cobain’s personal belongings made me realize that we’re not so different after all. We share a common denominator: both of us were widowed soon after giving birth. That would be a subject we could chat about over a few martinis.

When someone dies, especially unexpectedly, he leaves behind all the ordinary living kinds of things – a toothbrush and razor, combs, aftershave, clothes, letters from old girlfriends, tax records, photos, school yearbooks, newspaper clippings, vacation journals, maybe a car and all the crap stuffed under the seats, trinkets and gifts that decorate the house, a CD or record collection, movies, a bike, a favorite blanket…the list goes on and on. Think about it. If you died today, all the stuff you own and use that make your life the way you know it would become someone else’s to deal with, and all that stuff has to go somewhere.
“(My house) is like a mausoleum,” Love told Spinner.com. “My daughter doesn’t need to inherit a giant...bag full of flannel... shirts,” said Love. “A sweater, a guitar and the lyrics to ‘(Smells Like) Teen Spirit’ – that’s what my daughter gets. And the rest of it we’ll just...sell.”

I gave away most of Bruce’s clothes when he died (I kept his bowling shirt) and threw out his toiletries. But I’ve hauled around boxes of his stuff from house to house to house, from marriage to marriage to marriage, and I’m thinking it’s time to lighten the load a little. Maybe it’s time to let our daughter decide what she wants to keep and what she wants to sell or toss. I have our wedding album, some photos, his letters and a memory. That’s all I need.

Well, that and the television.

Yesterday, I gave away all the things I originally was going to sell at a garage sale, but I don’t have the time to host a garage sale. One of the things in my garage (and has occupied space in every garage I’ve had since 1983) is the Hitachi turn-dial 13-inch television my parents gave us for our wedding. When the guys were loading the truck yesterday to haul all my stuff away, the television was on the chopping block. But when I saw it there on the floor, waiting its turn to be lugged away like all the other stuff, I caved and told them to leave it.

I couldn’t let it go, even though it’s just sitting there reminding me of what was. I don’t need it, I don’t use it, so why do I keep it around?

Maybe it’s because it’s more tangible than a photograph. Bruce used this television. Touched it, watched it, moved the antennae around. We watched the last episode of “M*A*S*H” on that television. I laid in his lap, I was very pregnant and very emotional, and cried the entire two hours. We watched “Shogun,” “Winds of War,” “East of Eden” (the movie that inspired us to name our baby Caleb if it was a boy), “Family Ties,” “Fridays,” and “Saturday Night Live.”

There was no remote. We had to get up and change the channel (I liked watching Bruce’s ass tucked inside his Wranglers or Levis as he walked to the TV and bent over to turn the knob), and we fell asleep watching “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoons on that TV the first few days of Carlene’s life. It’s the one functional thing I kept from our good life, our real life. I don’t want to let that go.

So what’s a little space in the garage? I’ll let Carlene go through the rest of the stuff. The television will stay where it is.

Maybe one day Courtney Love and I can discuss the merits of keeping an old television set in a garage. I’m sure she’d understand.

10 comments:

Ali said...

So sorry you are going through some hard times right now. Grief and sadness are very hard--and I think they are harder when we no longer eat to quell the pain. I applaud your honesty on the internet where it is so easy for people to hide their real emotions and pretend like their lives are perfect. Thank you for sharing that it is not all peaches and cream for you. I hope you feel a little better soon.

And I still think you are pretty darn cool even if you have little in common with Courtney Love. She has few redeeming qualities in my opinion.

Annimal said...

How much you loved this man is still so very evident all these years later. I admire your strength.
I'm driving home to see my Mom for what will be the last time. I pray I have the time it takes to get there. To know that Mom's time is close and not a damn thing I can do about it...
You lost your husband so suddenly, I can't even imagine how you lived through the one-sided conversations. Did you trust that he was listening? Could you feel him with you?
BTW,If you had ilks in common with C.L., I probably wouldn't be reading your posts everyday.

Shelley said...

I get keeping the tv...it's interesting what we connect with; no harm keeping it. You had something taken away from you way too early - who knows where your life would have gone had that tragedy not happened. I know this is a hard month for you. Good job getting through another March. Hugs, my friend.

Lori said...

Lynn, this post made me cry a little.
I understand the TV. It is something tangible to hold onto. Memories can fade or change, but the concrete is always there.

Margie M. said...

This was a wonderful and heartfelt post. I have not lost my husband so cannot exactly understand that amount of grief. However, my Dad passed away in 2007 after he had been living in our home for 3 years. We took him on some great RV trips in the 3 years he lived with us (Alaska-6 weeks, and Nova Scotia-7 weeks). Just the other day I came across his little travel journal he kept during those trips. I had kept that small, seemingly insignificant book since he passed. Even now, living in the small space of our RV, I keep his journal with me. It has his very own handwriting in it. The travel memories he wrote down are his own, and I can keep reading and re-reading them as often as I want to.

So, yeah! I can totally "get" the idea of keeping that TV set. I'm glad you did.

Margie M. writes at:
www.myhealthylivingthruweightcontrol.blogspot.com

Mary said...

This was very touching and poignant. Your sorrow is so evident in the gentle way you write of how you have survived his passing. I think you embody the spirit of "steady on".

Vickie said...

hugs

Cassie said...

This was beautiful. There are just some things that you can't let go of. I was cleaning out the closets in preparation for new carpet to be laid and came across Tony's Penn State sweat shirt. I've carried that thing around for almost 10 years. When I was putting things in goodwill piles and keep piles it lasted all of 10 seconds in the goodwill pile. I just can't do it. I will keep it forever, I'm sure. And there's nothing wrong with that. If you would have thrown that TV away...I don't think it would have been a sign of moving on. I'm proud that you can realize that it's important to you.

Rob Dyess said...

You know you should be a writer... well, I think you are a writer.

You know, my Dad died a few years ago and I have a couple of pairs of his old hunting socks. I don't hunt, but I do keep them and use them when I want to keep warm.

I have very few things other than some pictures to remind me of my Dad... but those socks do.

So, I get it about the TV.... keep it forever!!

Good job on the post!

Rob

weighdownsouth.com

Debbie said...

This is one of the best post that I have every read. I lost my dad a couple of years ago and I have several things of his that other people think is crazy for me to keep. I think you are a nice person..