I hate taking care of plants. I hate gardening. I hate yardwork. I hate all of it.
I love having plants around, and I love the idea of having a garden or a flowerbed. The problem is that at the end of the day, plants are just something else to take care of. I have enough to take care of. By the time I get to the plants, I have run out of steam.
John loved plants. When we moved in together, his plants had to wear seatbelts for the trip from his apartment to our place. They all had names. He lovingly tended all of his houseplants until he could not get out of bed anymore.
Knowing how much those plants meant to John, it's hard not to feel like a failure as I watch them die one by one. I'm trapped: looking at the dead plants gives me a sick, guilty feeling, as though I've let John down, but I can't bear to throw away things that were so important to him. Of course, now they are dead things. I seriously have two totally dead bonsai in the living room, Akira and Keisuke. Every week, on trash night, I think I'm going to be able to take them down and toss them. And every week I just don't have it in me.
I hate how physical traces of John are slowly being erased from the condo. There are lots of pictures around, but his stuff is being overtaken by the kids' stuff, by my stuff. Most of his clothes are gone, donated and hopefully being worn by someone who need them. His videogames are being used by family friends. I have plans to send his DVDs to the soldiers in Iraq; there are precious few movies I feel a need to own, and while not a supporter of the war, John was an ardent supporter of the troops. We're in desperate need of bookshelf space, and guess whose books are more likely to go? I'm not a big history buff, especially not military history, and I'm also not huge on biographies. John had huge collections of both. Something has to give.
I hate clutter, I hate having things in my house that aren't being used. But I also hate saying goodbye to reminders of my husband. It's a balancing act. But this may be the week that the dead plants go to the curb. Their dry, brittle presence is bringing back more unpleasant memories than good. Maybe that should be my rule of thumb: keep the things that recall happy times. Let go of the things that bring pain.