Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Train Whistle

This week I survived moving.

Nobody likes moving. It's tedious, time consuming, and dirty. I discovered dust bunnies behind bookshelves the size of a small dog and grime behind my stove that had to be scraped off with a spatula.

And don't even get me started on the lifting. Me = no muscles. Apparently.

But with a lot of help, I did it, and it is more or less done (for now).

Unfortunately, packing up my life was every bit as heartbreaking as I thought it would be. Possibly even worse. The first few days at the new place I didn't do much more than cry and holler and yell. There is something about taking all the things that make up your life and shoving them into boxes that is unsettling and just a little bit sad.

Of course I had the added challenge of deciding what to keep and what to throw away.

Now, I am an avid declutterer. I hate clutter. And knick-knacks. And things that don't have a proper place. It's the CDO (which is basically like OCD but all the letters are in alphabetical order where they belong).

Anyway, as a natural part of the decluttering and packing I had to throw or give away a large number of Craig's things. Some I have absorbed permanently into my life and will be staying, but many others were given away to the Salvation Army or family members who wanted them. Clothes, shoes, toiletries, gadgits, whatsits, you name it. Some things I would have fought and screamed to keep months ago I was able to let go without much more than a minor twinge of guilt.

Now as with most packing, sometimes you just get to the end of a week of it, you are sick of it, and you can't stand to see even one more piece of bloody bubble wrap. So I had a couple boxes where I pretty much just chucked whatever was in my drawer into the box and voila! All done!

Well I finally started unpacking some of those last night (in the hunt for earrings - long story, apparently I have fat ear lobes) and came upon something I forgot I even had.

Craig's train whistle.

I have no idea where or when he got this thing. Probably on some family trip or from a relative as a gift. I'm not even sure he remembered. He showed it to me a couple years ago when he was cleaning out some boxes. It's one of those little children's wooden whistles that you blow on and it sounds like a train.

Of course I teased him that he had a toy for little kids (we'll just ignore the dolls action figures thing here). But of course it didn't take long for me to start playing around with it.

If I was bored and wanted Craig to come entertain me, I would blow on the whistle.

If I was having a rough day and wanted a hug, I would blow on the whistle.

If Craig was getting to wrapped up in his studies and I felt he needed a break, I would blow on the whistle.

If I felt ignored for video games or the computer, I would blow on the whistle.

If we were having a serious moment or argument and I wanted to break the tension, I would blow on the whistle.

If I just wanted Craig to come to me, I would blow on the whistle.

And he always did.

It became a sort of secret code with us. No matter what was going on or what we were doing, if I blowed on that whistle he would drop whatever he was doing and come to me.


Something in me broke when I saw that whistle in that cardboard box.

Because now when I blow on it, he won't come to me.

All the train whistles in the world won't make him come running.

These are the little things that break you.

Day after day.


  1. Oh Emily, I'm so sorry you hurt.
    I love you.

  2. I am relieved to see you post again...moving is a very exhausting process and far worse under your circumstances. You continue to amaze me with your ability to tell your story. As I have indicated in the past you are helping many others who don't have the ability or the skills to write their stories. I am so sorry that you hurt so much and I will continue to remember you in my thoughts and prayers.