I've done a bit of research this week. Focus groups, if you will.
"Tell me: What do you have in your closet that you don't wear, don't need, don't use, but you will not part with?"
The answer are broad. And telling. (As all answers should be.)
"My cheerleading uniform from high school."
"An orange flowered hat box from the 1960s."
"My Letterman Jacket."
"A Hawaiian shirt I wore to a wedding on the big island."
"The dress I left my wedding in."
"Jeans that show how much weight I've lost."
"Jeans that show how much weight I need to lose."
"My first pair of running shoes. They remind me where I've been."
For me, it's a little black dress. Cap sleeves. Perfect neckline for collarbones. Patent Leather belt around the smallest part of my waist. Lovely upon lovely. And collecting dust.
It's a size 4. And I'll never be a size 4 again. (God help us all if I ever decide that's necessary or attainable.)
Robb bought it for me for my birthday when I turned 31. He kept the toddler boys busy in the Ann Taylor store while I shopped and shopped, while he told me not to look at price tags, and he stayed close to the dressing room to give me his words of affirmation on each item I tried on.
With a simple strand of pearls, I wore the black dress as I spoke at his funeral six months later.
The dress and I will not part. Because that dress is just so much more than a dress.
I have driven both ways on I-70 in the last week.
Each time, I have passed the exit to the mountain lake where I scattered Robb's ashes.
But I didn't alter my route. I didn't leave the interstate. I didn't drive up the mountain.
I just didn't want to.
And I felt like I had just driven through the town where a beloved relative lives, but I didn't stop to pay a visit. I just didn't want to.
And today, I just don't want to do an anniversary. I want to do today. Because it's today. July 22, you are lovely. May I never take your loveliness from you. I don't need your date on my calendar, but I will not part with you.
A girl's got to live.
Thank you for giving me permission to just live today, with all the feelings, or numbness, or joy that today brings.
Sometimes you strike my heart so directly that you take my breath away.