Often it takes great strength and courage to say goodbye. When something has been in our lives for a long time, we are reluctant to let go. Just this morning I had to brace myself for a departure that felt a bit painful.
I'd had it for more than 12 years. It has lifted both my body and spirit on many mornings and supported me through many hard times. Frazzled, stretched and faded, it looked tired. I knew it was time to let it go.
"Good job," I said as I carried it into the kitchen.
After I mentally kissed it goodbye, my tattered bra went quietly to its final resting place - the trash can. Its comfy home in my dresser drawer looks a tad empty now. I have to buy a replacement that will feel strange, smaller and tighter because it's new. We're going to have to make friends, I thought. It may take years.
Things in our closets and drawers age along with us, I think.
To this day I can remember helping my parents pack to move into the nursing home that assisted them during the last two years of their lives. As my dad sat in his wheelchair in front of his closet, I'd select a piece of clothing and ask him, "Keep or toss?" And as I pulled out his favorite old green T-shirt, he reached for it, kissed it goodbye and gave it to me to put into the trash. I respected his decision and was moved by his demonstration of loyalty.
I'm a saver, so I understand how hard doing these things can be.
It wasn't that long ago that I took my wedding dress to the Nearly New Shop in Sun City Center. No one else in the family wanted it or could fit into it, so we said our goodbyes after almost 50 years of friendship and residence in my closet.
So too with the dresses I wore at each of our children's weddings. They're gone now but the memories of their service remain.
Make room for new things, I told myself. Life goes on. Celebrate what's coming. Fresh is good.
But my old bra, like my Dad's green shirt, felt soft and comfy from years of wear. We went through a lot together, I thought as I looked at the trash can and silently had a final idea.
I sent a quiet message.
"Thank you for all of your support and hard work. I appreciate your service."
Freelance writer Judy Kramer can be reached by email at JudyandOz@tampabay.rr.com. She is author of "Changing Places: A Journey with My Parents into Their Old Age."