Dad’s watch has become my most prized possession, since the day I cleared out his closet along with my mother. As the two of us, rummaged through his personal belongings, I picked up his watch, an old self-winding piece that had stood the test of time for over sixty years. And just seeing, touching and wearing that watch brought back a flood of memories and feelings.
Going through the dead man’s closet
If the death of a loved one is heartbreaking, then going through that person’s personal belonging post death is equally heart- wrenching. It took mom and me over six months to clean out dad’s belongings. Through the entire process of sorting, there were moments when mom would shed tears and look around her, as though she sensed his presence around. There were memories of him as we spoke of bygone days together, and finally there was that moment when we realized we must simply let go.
And we must let go
We began sorting out his stuff into “keep”, “throw” and “donate”. But by the end of the day we had realized that the box marked “keep” was almost full, whereas the other two boxes barely had items. We didn’t want to let go, and surely wanted everything that once belonged to him- an old pair of socks, a worn out shirt, an accounts ledger in his handwriting, a pair of shoes which would seldom fit any of us. There were innumerable other things such as coat buttons, comb and hankies. Finally, on seeing the pile that lay in front of us, mom decided that it didn’t quite make sense to hold on to each and everything that belonged to him. It was best each family member picked up one item of Dad that they liked.
Time is surely eternal
Of all the things that lay in front of me, I picked up Dad’s watch. An old self-winding watch, it belonged to my grandfather and Dad had picked it up when grandfather had died. At that moment, there was this sudden sense of calmness that seeped through me. The watch on my wrist, I felt the need to let go and move ahead in life. The watch had witnessed the vagaries of time. It had moved on from, death to life, to death. I realized, the only thing eternal in this universe is time. And surely years later there may come a time, when the watch shall pass hands yet again, when my time shall end.