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Relationship-Related Hoarding

Today I removed two cards I got from J-O over the past few months – a Christmas one and Valentines one – from beside my bed to inside my wardrobe, where I keep all my other correspondence from J-O. This got me thinking of how I hoard things centered around J-O, not just from when we were ‘together’ but also since we’ve been ‘just friends’. (I also thought it would be an interesting topic for here, especially given my lack of posts recently).

I have kept all the letters, cards and postcards she has ever sent me. Furthermore, I have kept the train, tube tickets and London bike hire receipts from whenever I have visited her (from both when we were ‘together’ and ‘just friends’). This hoarding has also extended digitally, where I have kept everything she has ever sent me online, from pictures of her, pictures of us, right down to random things she has sent me in general Skype conversation. I’ve even transferred our Skype message history (right from our first chat, more than 2 years ago now) to a more readable HTML file in case I lose my message history through Skype itself. I even have several word documents detailing exactly all my memories from our first few meets, in a much detail as I can remember (I wrote them as soon as I got home, because my memory is dire and I want to have something that can more easily trigger those memories in the future). I keep it all in one folder, which I don’t ever look at (it’s too painful, especially the pictures), but I back it up on my USB stick too, just like my uni work.

I’m not sure if this is a good idea, I’ll be honest. It’s probably a terrible idea. I see it this way, though: we had a good time together while it lasted and, although it’s too painful to look through at the moment, I will appreciate having the memories easily accessible in later life. This is especially important to me as my memory is terrible. It was my life for over a year (well, in some ways it’s part of my life even today, over 2 years since me and J-O first spoke, 6 months since we last did things that were ‘more than friendly’, if you see what I mean, even though I am trying for it not to be a part of my life).

Something I read last year reinforced this view for me. It was in the book The Last Tommy. Harry Patch talks about how his wife kept the ring from a man she was previously engaged to, that was killed in WWI, on the dressing table in their home, and how this did not bother him in the slightest. He doesn’t say why but I think it was for the same reason: he respected that she had somebody she had loved in the past, and to remember fondly something that was part of your life in the past, without wanting to return to it, is a perfectly natural, perfectly human desire.

I’m interested to know: what do you, readers, think?

  1. Brenda Blasingame
    10/04/2012 at 4:55 am

    I have things from past relationships that I have kept through the years pictures, letters, cards. I like to return to those moments and remember for in those moments it was real.

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