Guest Blogger. Please enjoy the incredible writing of Darcy Fileri
by Darcy Flierl
Who would think a silly, made from plywood, spray black painted bookshelf, could mean so much? I’ve had it since I was 17 years old. It was given to me when I was provided my own “half a house” in our residence. I had my own bathroom, bedroom, TV room and living room furnished with a very cool papason couch and chair. I even had a private entrance.
I can see the room in my mind’s eye. The coffee and end tables, black granite and iron décored, were heavy and stable. They had been my parents at one time. My mom had acquired them while working at a furniture store, several years before I was born. She enjoyed decorating my room with a spree at Pier 1 Imports. She found this great table with a book shelf as its base and even found a bookshelf tapestry to match it. I really miss the large green hand carved fish that sat firmly on one of the granite tables. I often wonder which move I decided I know longer needed it? I have a vague recollection of a fin breaking and being glued back on and then breaking again and just giving up on it.
Most of those things that decorated “my half a house” are gone. I was a bit of a nomad, moving around every few months, for many years. With each visit home, I slowly robbed the rest of the house of its memories, as I would decorate new apartments and ditching things that began to get in my way. Of all the objects that took up space in my many living situations in a variety of cities, it was the bookshelf that went with me everywhere… no exceptions.
24 years later, that bookshelf is still with me. That bookshelf has been more stable in my life then any relationship I’ve ever had. Lately, it’s in the way. I’ve been thinking that for a few years now. Yet, I resist letting it go, like I’ve done so many other times with so many other objects that have adorned my life. The difference, the rest I’ve eventually been able to let go of.
If you were to ask me why I keep it now, I’d answer, “well, my grandpa made it.”, “Just for me!”. But why do I really keep it? It takes up valuable space in my bedroom, It has ZERO monetary value and is becoming less functional as new shelving systems are available. Today, while dusting that old, not so shiny bookshelf, I asked myself, really asked myself, “Why do I keep it?”. And suddenly I knew the answer, as though it had been apparent all this time.
It’s proof I was loved. Another human, my grandfather, rest in peace, loved me enough to make this inanimate object for me. I loved him enough to keep it with me since the day he gave it to me. I love him. He loved me. The bookshelf proves it.
Now what? Am I bound; obligated by this bookshelf until the day I die? Will my daughter be compelled to this bookshelf when I’m gone, like I feel to the 4 generation old antiques taking up real estate in my new home? The home, I might add, that isn’t much bigger than my “half of the house” as a child. I don’t want her to have to carry the weight of attachment to objects, like I do.
There must be another way to remember my life before, the unconditional love I had taken for granted , than to be married to a piece of furniture, married to a bookshelf. The truth is, love transcends beyond time. The life I had, existed whether I have that book shelf or not. If a tangible item, exists or not, does not equate to never having been loved. I know this, and just when I get the courage to let this old bookshelf go, I become terrified. Terrified that I will regret this decision forever and never be able to get it back. I already have lost my grandparents, my house, my former life and I will never get that/them back. What if this is the one thing I can hold onto and I just let it go on my own accord? If I let it go and later regret it, I don’t know if I could forgive myself.
And until I can make peace with that, with my bookshelf, with my grief, I allow that old dust collecting book shelf to occupy space , in my room, my head, my heart.
Darcy Flierl is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addictions Professional, and Certified Yoga Teacher currently offering individual and family psychotherapy in Stuart, Florida. She also enjoys teaching in the Human Services Department as an Adjunct Instructor for Indian River State College and is Consultant for Non Profits along the Treasure Coast.
She has held board positions on for a variety of local and statewide agencies from the Department of Juvenile Justice’s State Advisory Group to CHARACTER COUNTS! and others. Darcy has received a variety of awards for her community work such as; Soroptimist’s Rising Star Award, the Community Champion Award from the United Way and for community advocacy from the Tobacco Free Partnership and was a 2013 Nominee as a Woman of Distinction.
Besides working to make Martin County a healthier place, she donates her time doing River Advocacy for the Indian River Lagoon and raising awareness about many issues effecting young people and families. She treasures her time with her husband, and children attending local events and enjoying Martin County’s recreational opportunities.
For more information about Darcy you can visit her website at: www.darcyflierl.com
I absolutely enjoyed reading your first blog, and to be honest it definitely hit home for me on this topic. As I was reading I thought to myself, there must be so many people put there that are in same or similar situation, holding on to an object of our childhood. Thank you for sharing your story.