My reserves are further stressed this week by closing out Morgan’s apartment in Blacksburg. Mine to do, I know. Both an honor and a most taxing obligation. I really liked the chance to have my hands in the mix of her life one last time. To read all Morgan’s scrawled lists and post- its everywhere. She was so busy, so many plans to do and accomplish. Smell her t-shirts. Shake my head over impossibly high-heeled shoes and tattered, ratty sneakers.

We had moved her into that apartment such a short time ago, with such hopes and plans for her future. Morgan had such a wonderful, rich, together life. Just devastating that someone could end it all, end her very life with his hate and depravity.

As I sift and sort Morgan’s things, some of my inner dialogue is ridiculous, even to me. I’m trying to figure out what to keep and what to discard. All feels precious because it has an association to Morgan, but it is overwhelming and not practical to keep it all. So I find myself asking, how many shirts does a dead girl need in her closet? What’s the rule of thumb/protocol for this aberrant reality we live in?

I realize there’s no rule. The gauge is me. How much is enough so that when I open her closet or drawer I can get a sense of her, but not so many empty things and NO Morgan that I am undone. It’s a delicate compromise to find just where the zone of comfort is for us. Where memory cues remind us of our precious daughter, but not so intensely that we are engulfed and drown in the loss once more.

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4 Responses to “Gil Harrington’s thoughts on May 5th, 2010”

  1. W.C. says:

    Your struggle and journey to find balance in a world without your daughter is gut wrenching and hard to read at times, as your pain and loss are so vividly evident through your elegant prose.

    Please know that at least one stranger shares a very small fraction of your tears and your angst. It is incomprehensible that this evil exists and has not yet been stamped out. Through your posts, I feel I have come to know Morgan. Not her physical being of course, but her essence that your family cherished and now grieves the loss of. You so beautifully articulate all that was Morgan. I imagine she is a person I would have wanted to know.

  2. Kat says:

    Of course Morgan’s items are for you to do with what you wish, but I have a humble idea. Maybe you could have a quilt made with all of her clothes, or some of them. That way you can keep a part of her and wrap yourself in her warmth. That may sound cheesy, but I just thought I would share. Thank you for intelligent insight.

  3. Jule says:

    I don’t believe any mother is ever the same after losing her child. What I do believe is that God, if called upon, will intervene and provide inexplicable peace. But, you must ask. He can’t carry you until you allow Him to take this incredible burden. As humans, I don’t believe any of us have this inherent capacity to withstand pain at a certain threshold. So, that’s when you have to call upon God. You WILL overcome this mountain of grief. Just ask God to walk with you. You cannot do it alone. It is simply not possible. You may throw yourself into charity work and other endeavors but at the end of the day, you will come home and the memories will overcome you and lead you back down the path of despair. Your strength lies in Jesus. God Bless You and may you find peace and comfort amid your circumstances.

  4. tcaros says:

    Everyone finds there way in dealing with the death of a loved one.

    I had a friend in grade school who lost his older brother in a drowning accident. When I stayed over his house I noticed that his mother kept his brother’s room exactly the way it was the night he drown. One night my friend took me in his brother’s room and explained what his mother was doing. He spoke about it in a distant voice as if it made him uneasy. I don’t think he told his mother that it made him feel that way since he knew it comforted her in some strange way. I think it was her way of holding on to those good memories while she was still dealing with the loss.

    Eventually, as we went through high school things became more normal and the room was used for something like an office. Objects can trigger memories which can make us feel good and at some point holding on to those too closely can torture us. The point is we all go through a healing process that helps us eventually let go and move on with our lives.

    Pscychiatry at times tries to “over examine” some basic principles- it takes time to heal and we all heal differently.

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