It was in 2006, I believe, that I was last at my childhood home with my own vehicle. My mother was always a bit of a pack rat (and I’ve taken after her there), and I wanted to take some things back to Idaho with me. Old school papers and such. Photos. I found a big plastic bin, and I shoved a bunch of papers into it, most of which were related to me, and loose photos. 

Over the years, and several moves, I’ve kept that bin. I rarely looked at the papers. Mostly, I would delve into it when I wanted pictures of my family. 

After my mom died last month, I went through the bin, paper by paper. I got to see things that she had touched, that she had chosen to save, that she had written. I was struck again by how similar my handwriting is to how hers used to be. 

It was as if I knew, somehow, that I wouldn’t be able to go back to Illinois when she passed. And that I’d want, even need, something to help me connect and process. 

I’m still processing. Still reeling. Still considering what this all means. I’ve been thinking about the songs that I wrote after Chris Hill died. Some of the papers in the bin were of more recent vintage, things that I’d saved from college, and that included a list of those songs. But not all the lyrics, which I’m not sure I still have saved anywhere. 

Maybe I’ll rewrite them, once I figure out how to play guitar accompaniment to them the melodies that I still recall and the choruses that are mostly still there. I think about recording the songs and posting them somewhere, but then I get this paranoid feeling that everything I’ve thought or written has already been thought or written before, that if I like the songs, then I must surely have copied them from something I heard. 

The physical bin that I unpacked and sorted is not the only bin being unpacked and sorted in my head right now. 

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