Loud Silence

I was watching Up and the scene where Carl sits down in the house after he made it to the falls. He arranges things the way they were when Ellie was alive. Sits. And then there is silence. The chair as animated as it was with Ellie alive, was as empty and loudly silent as ever.


I noticed this idea of a loud silence after my dad died. Going through his things, or just sitting in his house. All the murmurs of his everyday life like shoes, tables, bed, bills, pencils, notes all there but missing his animation. The silence of his being gone echoed in my ears. The emptiness of objects no longer animated by his spirit crushed me.

Dropping off a load of items at Helping Hands, I couldn’t even look at the young man emptying my car. I couldn’t even help.  I looked at my dad’s stuff piled with his hunting boots on top and it seem to scream gone, gone, gone.

I again experienced this loud silence with the death of my grandmother.  I went to help my uncle clean things out of her apartment. He had hired a company to haul away and donate her things. When I got there, her couch was sitting by the truck. It was her couch but it wasn’t. This was her couch where she took naps, read the newspaper, ate meals, watched Dancing with the Stars. Now, it was just there without her.

Like the movie, we move on from this silence of empty things. We give them away or store them as keepsakes, or adopt them into our lives and animate in a different way that honors life and new adventures.



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