Never about the stuff

Dear Dan,

I’ve been looking through some of my stuff. It’s been making me think about stuff in general and specifically the stuff we leave behind.

When you left, you left behind an entire house of stuff. Because to the “state of the estate” most of your bequests could not given out. Some were so small that it didn’t make a difference to the estate and were solely sentimental bequests. Those went wherever they were meant to go.

I think about Harley and Brian. Harley was out of town. Brian went over and got some things out that you requested to go to specific people. Harley had to deal with most of the rest.

I was given photos that were on your refrigerator and some Brian had that you shot.

Harley had most of your house sitting in his garage for quite some time. I was so sorry I couldn’t get out to KC to help him handle it all. But I was stuck in SC because of money and trying to handle things on this end.

I talked to Harley about a year ago and asked if he still had all your stuff in his garage. I think the poor man thought I was going to ask him for something. He very apologetically told me that most of it was gone; sold to settle the estate. All I was concerned about was that I would go to KC and help him hold a garage sale, if necessary.

So the stuff: I am overjoyed that I got the photo of you picking up the cookies from the floor. I talk to it/you a lot. The photo is in the kitchen — appropriately, I think. Other than that, it’s just stuff.

I think about some of the stuff and wonder what happened to it: the letter, response and obituary of Roger Chaffee, the Oscar fish you had mounted, some of the frogs. I remember the places you had them in the different apartments or houses where you lived. And I wonder, too about what is there now in those apartments and houses.

In the end, it’s all just stuff. You aren’t in the stuff; you aren’t part of the stuff; you aren’t remembered because of the stuff. You are in the hearts of the people you touched and you are remembered in the minds of the people who love you.

That’s the way it is for all of us and the way it should be. I think I need to go clean out my stuff.

I love you and miss you, my brother.

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