I pull out a box from the closet of my mom’s things. I am immediately stressed out to see her belongings. I know I can’t hold on to everything. My place is too small and having clutter freaks me out. It’s like her stuff speaks to me through the container and I want it gone. 

I know people will judge and wonder how I could feel that way about my dead mother’s clothes. Her jackets from work with the etched “Yolanda” on the front pocket. She worked for a trucking company. I am much smaller than she was. They are clothes I will never wear. Will anyone wear them even though some of them say her name? There are some nice warm jackets. 

I take them out. I bring them to my face to smell them wondering if her scent will still be there. I reach inside the pocket to find a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I take them out and smell them too. 

The cigarette smell will always remind me of her. Especially after I smoke one and the scent lingers on my finger tips. 

I inspect the blue jacket closely to find loose hairs of hers that had fallen. Years later and they’re still safely inside the fabric. I pluck them out and put them in a little jar. It feels weird to be doing this. Almost creepy. But they’re from her head! She was once here. She was real. 

Once I’ve smelled and inspected the jacket, I put it on. I take the fabric in both hands and hug it around myself. I twirl around. I move in it. For the last time, I know, because they will soon be gone. These items that hold memories, memories I’m not even aware of. Things she’s done at work wearing this jacket, with her name on it, that I will give away. 

This will not be the first or last time I hold space for her, and myself, this way. I remember many goodbyes to things, places, and people, where I dance with their memory that now hurts. I twirl, and move my body, wearing my mom’s big jacket. I breathe it all in. For a moment I pretend to be her. 

Then I take it off, hug it again. I run my fingers over her name and take a picture in my mind. Things are safer there. 

Things can be taken from me, they can disappear or get lost in the blink of an eye. But my memory can hold on to them forever. I etch this into my brain and fold up the jacket and put it in a trash bag. I do this with most of her stuff, each thing getting it’s own ceremony. 

I don’t know why, but I must say goodbye to most of her belongings. I will not feel this way years from now. I will regret this, and somehow I know it. But I do it anyway. 

I place her items in a trash bag and seal it tight, and I take it to a thrift store where I can drop it off as if it never happened. Nobody knows about the goodbye ceremonies. Only in my memory. <3