When his wife of 35 years succumbed at last to cancer, Dave Beck began to purge their possessions.
Dave is now my mother’s husband, my second stepfather. But before he met my mother, Dave had determined that he would be a lonely widower for the rest of his days. He began to eliminate. He decided it was foolish to have more than one cup, one plate, one bowl. No Martha Stewart enhancements for him; if Dave couldn’t use it on a daily basis, off it went.
We’ve been living with just a few things this past week. My mom came up mid-week and packed up the remaining books and all of the kitchen. Except for those dishes we needed to live on for the week. We wash those few dishes frequently and it’s just fine. They’re our most favorite dishes and utensils, so it doesn’t feel like a hardship.
In fact, it feels liberating.
I can see the sense in Dave Beck living. The simplicity. The aescetics of it.
Purging is a kind of catharsis. A release of all the power that objects hold. It can be saddening, to rid oneself of possessions, remembering how it came to you, what it meant. But in releasing it, you also liberate those things.
Perhaps then they float back again. Unencumbered.