Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

The Only Way Through It Is Through It

I walk into my fitness room, the long, thin, enclosed breezeway between house and garage, outfitted with gym equipment, where theoretically, we work-out.  This room is our favorite indoor play area.  Because of our fast paced boy’s baseball centric lifestyle, it took months to paint the walls a clean, slate gray, the doors bright red, the trim a sleek black.  Three large ceiling to floor mirrors line one long wall a’la YMCA and shock absorbing matting covers red brick floor.  Our family trophies, family sports related pictures and sports memorabilia are proudly displayed.  One can learn much about how we live life after only a few minutes in this room. 

            Last week, I placed two long rectangular tables down the center of this room to accommodate guests joining us for lunch prior to my mother-in-law’s funeral.  Today, those large tables still stand, now loaded end to end with boxes, on top and underneath, containing for lack of better description, her stuff. Things she held dear that she wanted us to have.  Her stuff also lines all four walls in this room, with only a narrow path leading from exterior to interior doors.  The garage bay is also full.

I find it overwhelming to enter this room, but enter it I must.  The only way through it, is through it.

For days we’ve been sorting through stuff.  I realize soon, life will return to a pre-hospital, pre-funeral hustle.  Baseball season is upon us.  Practice is already underway.  Writing deadlines loom, my husband will return to work on Monday.

 But grief is still as fresh a new coat of paint in this room.  It smells like her house:  a mixture of flowery pot-pourri and mustiness that speak to the things she valued and saved, much like the aroma one encounters when antiquing in quaint tucked away shops on a rainy winter day.

Over the past several days, we’ve chuckled on more than one occasion.  My mother-in-law was a collector of all things sentimental, the word ‘edit’, not in her vocabulary.  Fabric, antique furniture, china, bears, dolls, clowns, tea pots, vintage jewelry, sewing implements; did I mention fabric?     

            This room is such a visual metaphor for life as we’ve known it for the past several months, most especially, the past couple of weeks.  Our son’s baseball bag, back pack and tennis shoes crowding one side of the path, my mother-in-law’s stuff piled every place else, my husband and I sandwiched in between trying our best to pick our way through it.  It makes me remember the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, “one bite at a time.”   Carpe diem ya’ll, Michele

Copyright © 2007 Michele Bernard


February 10, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Inspiration, Inspirational, Michele's Musings


  1. Wow! I’m feeling jealous. When Bail died, he left nothing but iron, machinery and guns. All, for lack of a better term, his “guy’ stuff. I felt going through it should have been a celebration of his life. For me, it was more like a “gun and knife” show. I got away with one horse shoe, and was able to sort through the 2 vehicles he left and keep a couple of money clips. Lil’Bail took the rest. So, I find myself jealous, that you and David are getting to Get Through It. Laugh, cry and cherish it! LOVE YOU BOTH!!!

    Comment by Kelly | February 14, 2007 | Reply

  2. Kelly: I have such good memories of hanging out at horse shows and show horse stables, you and I tagging along, watching your dad work. I can think of no better symbol than an iron horse shoe to celebrate his life! Love you too! M:)

    Comment by Michele Bernard | February 14, 2007 | Reply

  3. Michele, I’m so sorry to learn of your mother-in-law’s passing. May light perpetual shine upon her.

    Comment by pooks | February 23, 2007 | Reply

  4. Pooks: Thank you for your kind words. His Peace, Michele

    Comment by Michele Bernard | February 23, 2007 | Reply

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