I got a letter from my Dad yesterday. It was mainly a report of the two relatives who had died recently. I'm related to both only through marriage, and actually had never met one. Dad also mentioned in the letter that he had to clean up the apartment of my "cousin" because all the other family members were too bereaved. Or lazy.
I got a package from my Dad today. Sheets. Just sheets shoved in a box. No letter of explanation. I'm guessing they are my dead cousin's sheets. He was cleaning up her place. Came across some perfectly good sheets. Figured I needed some new sheets.
Now I have my dead uncle's VCR and roasting pan, and my dead cousin's sheets.
Seems that perhaps there should be shame in using the mediocre household items of the dead. I've never been particularly ashamed of things that make others ashamed. I'm not easily embarassed, except by the site of naked Barbie dolls. I talk freely about body parts and eggs. I'm not phased when my international friends ask me to explain "Douche bag." I go to the gym looking like a homeless person. I wear second-hand clothing. I own third-hand furniture. I use my dead uncle's VCR to watch movies.
Instead, I carry around shame about things I did 10 or 20 years ago. I was a stupid kid. I did stupid things. I'm still mortified about them. Like the time I cheated on my English homework in Mrs. Hansen's class. I got caught. It may be why I'm so sensitive about cheating today. I still remember the horrid pink cardigan she was wearing as she was lecturing me. Or the time I screwed up as Stage Manager of the "Bye Bye Birdie" production at my high school. I didn't show up to some important meetings. I'd been given the calendar of meetings, but did a horrible job of keeping track and staying organized. Mr. Putnam was pissed. It bugs me that I have this stupid teenage shame that I can't shake. Seems like a stupid heavy load to carry for so long.