SORRY. IT’S MISSING – Marilyn Armstrong

In an endless attempt to clean up and store all the extra stuff in life, the final polish is to put it away permanently by finding a place for it which will be forever safe.

In the course of organizing my pictures, I lost this one. I have no idea how. I must have deleted it, but I didn’t do it on purpose.

Maybe while I was setting up a new computer and transferring files, this one fell between the chairs? Or got lost in some device, like maybe an ancient hard drive that no longer works. Or on an old DVD or floppy disk. Regardless, it is gone. I really liked it.

Path in the woods – A picture of a picture because I can’t find the original!

I have this picture because once upon a time, I printed this on canvas. I gave the picture away, but before I gave it away, I took a picture of the picture.

I lose things.

It’s not new. I have always had a habit of putting important items – papers, jewelry, lenses, cameras — in a safe place. Because, for some inexplicable reason, I have decided wherever it was, wasn’t safe enough. The problem is, wherever it previously was will be the place I remember it being. I will not remember the new, safer place I put it. If, indeed I put it anywhere and didn’t just put it down, go do something else, and forget about it completely.

The new, improved place to which I moved it is guaranteed to be a place I will never remember. It’s also possible I move things in my sleep. Yes, I sleepwalk. I know this because other people have seen me sleepwalking. Also, there are other things that only make sense if I did them in my sleep. No rational (or waking) explanation is possible.

The jewelry I found in the bottom of Garry’s underwear drawer? I’m pretty sure he didn’t put my necklace there. In any conscious state of mind, I would never put anything there, other than his underwear. Or, for that matter, the bundle of jewelry I discovered in the piano bench. Why would anyone put their jewelry in the piano bench? Even me?

The worst losses are accidental. I have something important in my hand. I need to do something else, so I put down. Temporarily. Life moves on. I meant to go back and deal with it, but I have a 15-second short-term memory, so if I put it down and don’t deal with it immediately, it could be in another universe.

The ONLY way I find this stuff is by retracing my steps. What rooms was I in? Could I have left it in Garry’s bathroom? My bathroom? Did I shove it in my camera bag? Which pants or jacket was I wearing? Have I washed it yet?

Occasionally, this results in finding the missing item. Mostly, it doesn’t, probably because the retracing was imperfect. And I forget about pockets. How many were there are and how much stuff you can shove into them.

Lost stuff can appear years later while I am hunting down something else that has gone missing. It can be a thrilling discovery … or it’s a duplicate of important papers I’ve already replaced.

A couple of friends of mine recently became widows. One of them strongly recommended I put our papers in order. Things like the deed to the house which I actually found by accident, so I know where it is. Garry doesn’t know where it is, but if I told him, he’d forget anyhow. Fifteen seconds isn’t nearly enough time. We have our birth certificates and our passports which will do in a pinch. I don’t have to worry about dealing with our fortune since there is none. In fact, it turns out all we will need — either of us — will be our birth certificates, social security cards, and a few passwords.

One sheet of paper in a manila envelope. I don’t even have to worry about the money needed to bury one or both of us because there is no burial money. Presumably, we WILL get buried, one way or the other. I think they have to do something with our corpses. Garry and I discussed this, then realized, “Why worry?” Garry is too old to buy life insurance (I think 75 is the cutoff) and I’m too sickly. For any price.

So we agreed to stop worrying about it. I figure the state has to do something with our bodies. I don’t think it’s legal to just leave us lying around and rotting. It might make an interesting TV show, though. Just a season or two. We could call it “What Should We Do With Mom?”

Too bad we aren’t allowed to be buried on our own property. We’ve more than enough room and our earth would be happy to have us. Meanwhile, I’m searching for that missing picture. Not all the time, but every time I’m in one of my storage drives. It may turn up, someday. Or not.

I’m pretty sure Garry has our birth certificates and passports. So we’re good to go, so to speak.

17 thoughts on “SORRY. IT’S MISSING – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. I could now say that your text right up to the ‘burial’ was mine, and it would even include a spectacular photograph of the woods; only mine had a picnic table and bench on it too. I CANNOT find the original, and not even any copies. And I can’t believe it – that with tens of thousands photos, THAT ONE I like so much and made into wonderful cards has gone missing….. See?
    I don’t do sleepwalking, at least in this respect I have no excuses. And I’m far better than Hero Husband who leaves his keys (incl. the ones of work and other places) AND his very expensive mobile phone on the roof of the car and drives off to the motorway! And more, endless, always, he leaves without his razor, his cuff links, his laptop (for God’s sake!!!) etc. I’m not even getting upset anymore, I just say: It’s your money you spend for losing all that stuff. The stuff I lose, costs nothing, all of it has ‘only’ sentimental value. It’s my photos, my writings (hand written letters, notes), my favourite books I want to come back to (and which I most likely have given away just BECAUSE I liked them so much). It doesn’t hurt any less though.


  2. Gosh Marilyn, you sound so much like me it’s uncanny. I lose things all the time in exactly the same ways. The safe place syndrome is a sure-fire way to lose something important. But I’m so glad you found at least the picture of the picture of the path through the woods, because it’s absolutely, hauntingly beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The state, through the government does have a death stipend. The state will expect family to pay unless they have less than $2k. (At least that was the gist four years ago when my mom died in Mass.) my siblings and I had to pick up the tab.


        • I think it’s a statewide law. Some places it’s OK, others not. I was told NOT here, but I think I should double-check. And anyway, if you have a big enough plot and a good bobcat, who would care?

          Well, I wuz wrong. You can bury on private property in Massachusetts, but you are supposed to ask the local board of health first. Except we don’t HAVE a board of health anywhere but Boston … and maybe there is one in Worcester. So one shroud, one day’s rental on a bobcat, a handful of seeds and voila! A solid green burial. No chemicals, no stupid coffins. And Jewish-style: in the ground within 24-hours. Sounds downright homey to me.

          Liked by 1 person

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.