Today was the day.
I touched the cup. I took it out of the cupboard, filled it with water, and I’m drinking from it.
When we cleaned out Teagan’s apartment a few days after he passed, I was numb. Unrecognizably numb. I shed exactly zero tears as we packed his belongings into totes and boxes. It actually freaked me out a little bit then. I see now that it’s a coping mechanism our systems have to be able to get through the unthinkable. My oldest son and daughter-in-law were with me the whole time. My teenage daughter was there for a while. They were definitely a strength to me. Their willingness meant the world to me as I prayed that they, too, could handle doing it. We did it in a matter of an hour. Maybe two, I guess. I don’t really know. I just knew I had to get it done and get it done soon. It wasn’t something I wanted looming over me in the coming weeks. That is one decision I am now, so grateful I made as I did.
As we cleared out his small studio apartment, we were able to see and recognize a lot of things about Teagan. We all commented on how clean and tidy he was for a young, newly-on-his-own-dude. Confirmed, was what I already knew about a lot of his habits, vices and addictions. I had and still have mixed feelings about all that goes with that.
There were funny things. There were heartwarming things and there were heartbreaking things. I knew then, that there were things that I would keep forever and things that probably weren’t all the meaningful.
In general, I’m not an overly sentimental person when it comes to stuff. To items. To physical things. I mean, I definitely have those things I’ll keep forever that hold some meaning to me, but I’m not one that finds some sort of meaning or attachment to all things.
Anyway, there were just a few dirty dishes in his sink. I brought them home and washed them. As I did, I remembered him rolling his eyes as he was gifted the dishes and other household items for the Christmas just before he turned 18. The living circumstances had been a hot topic since he was about 14 years old. I was pretty open about my expectations of him finding his own place after his 18th birthday. It had always been what he wanted until it was my idea and not his own. It makes me laugh to think about. Typical Teagan. Him and I had many conversations about the irony of the whole thing.
As I washed his dishes, I put most of them back in his totes, but I kept this cup out. The kids all recognized it as Teagan’s cup. He loved this cup. It was his coffee cup. He often had it when he would come to our house. It was a patriotic cup. It represented something Teagan was passionate about. I washed it and put it in the cupboard. It’s been almost two months and no one has touched the cup. I’ve looked at it every single day. There have been days that I’ve had next to no clean dishes and I opted not to use his cup.
Until today. Today, with a cupboard full of clean dishes and many options to choose from, I chose his. I don’t know why. I can’t give you a reason. There’s nothing significant about today, or the cup, or my feelings or emotions. I just looked at it and I wanted to use it. So I did. I didn’t cry. I didn’t feel sad. If anything, maybe a bit of comfort. A bit of satisfaction that I was using HIS cup.
It’s doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t fulfill a need, want or emotion. It just is. Grief and loss, for me are weird to navigate. Unpredictable. Ever changing.
Today, though. I used the cup.