Tiny Little Pieces

Photogrief / Photogrief : Eleanor Haley

by Kim

I've lost both of my parents in the past two years. Right when I thought I "had a handle" on my mom's passing, my father was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive bladder cancer and passed just 18 months after my mom.

I have been the one to make sure all of the documents of their lives are taken care of. A few letters and photographs I've sent to their friends, but what about the rest? What do I do with years of tax returns, vehicle registrations, and cancelled checks?

Last week I shredded decades and decades of documents from my parents. Tiny pieces of their lives, crosscut for security, but I can still see my mothers perfect handwriting...

Tiny, perfect squares of two lives that ended too soon. They look just like my heart, cut into a million tiny pieces.

We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

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5 Comments on "Tiny Little Pieces"

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  1. Janice  November 15, 2015 at 11:08 pm Reply

    Kim, thanks you so much for sharing your story. I recently lost both of my parents also. My dad first and then my mom became quite ill and passed away 9months later. They had been married 64 years. They were both 17 when they married and really knew no life without the other. My mom gave up, she wanted to be with dad and her family. My sister and brother had the task of going through all of the files. I have old photos and lots of little momentos. I’m still not at a point where I can deal with them. Right now they just make me cry. My heart is in pieces also. Bless you on you journey with grief.

  2. Jolene Boyd  October 11, 2015 at 3:35 pm Reply

    Yes, I still have boxes of letters (even some between my mom and dad when they were dating) and photos (quite a few of people who shall forever remain nameless because there is no one left to identify them…), books, and other miscellaneous reminders of my parents. And I, too, remember going through all of their other papers and shredding years and years of documents that they thought were important to hold onto (seemingly forever, in some cases.) It is a such a poignant symbol of how fragile life is, and one of those many moments that underscore that YES, unfortunately, they ARE gone. My heart goes out to you, Kim. Thank you for sharing the struggle so well.

  3. Kim N.  October 10, 2015 at 12:33 am Reply

    Beautifully written, as i too have a file full of my Dads pictures & papers, still sitting there waiting to be purged through. Im not ready to go thru it a year later. I am wishing you peace of mind and heart as you go about your healing whilst living with a broken heart.

  4. Joseph Naas  October 9, 2015 at 4:11 pm Reply

    OMG – I can so relate to this and it was for me a very hard thing to get rid of documents that were not necessary to keep. This past January, I lost my partner of 18 years and just 1 week later our dog, my pride and joy, died unexpectedly in my arms. Needless to say, I was and remain devastated beyond repair. My heart has been shattered into so many pieces it is impossible at this point in my life that it can be repaired. I kept all the files for my partner Miguel’s business and also all our personal files. When I had to move this past summer I was so tired of all these boxes around and I had been shuffling them between home and a storage unit. It took a while but I finally did manage to get rid of most of them…not all, there are some that at this point I just cannot bear to get rid of…for what reason, I don’t know. All that I do know is I eliminated what I could. Did I find the experience to be cathartic? I’m sorry to say it was not. In fact I am still so numb that I only feel sadness. It is very hard to move on sometime..I’m so sorry for your losses. I wish you strength. Joe N

  5. Elizabeth Marquis  October 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm Reply

    Oh, this was the hardest thing I had to do, at least the one that stays with me the most. When I lost my partner of 36 years, it wasn’t the closet and the drawers to clean out that was the most difficult, as I had always heard. It was the office, specifically the filing cabinet that got to me the most. All of the tax returns that we had done together and her many and varied health records that chronicled the last 10+ difficult years of her life… The work documents, certificates of accomplishments and all the sundry items we keep. Shredding all those documents felt like her life was being erased. And like you, the result was looking at pieces of my heart and soul in little bits. Exactly the way I felt at the time and still feel like to this day. You expressed it beautifully, and thank you for sharing.

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