I always knew the day would come and last week I took home my dad’s vintage metal tool box. For as long as I can remember it has been sitting in the same place in the garage of my parental home.
My dad died long ago on the last day of 1996, when me and my two older brothers were still relatively young. And last year my mother passed away as well. She was always very protective of everything that reminded her of my father.
He died of cancer and as I’m cleaning out the house for the people who’ll become the new owners soon, I understand more of the tremendous impact his loss has had on our family.
This impact made it hard for my mother to part with all the stuff that served as a memory of the person who she should’ve grown old with. It means that the house feels like a time capsule of the nineties, since basically nothing has changed since then.
Not the house itself, not the furniture, not the Toyota Camry of 1989, sitting with a dead battery in the garage, not his work room and all the books decades old, and not this vintage metal tool box, on the shelf where it has been for the last 37 odd years.
The tool box is obviously not the only part of the inheritance that’s coming my way, and it and everything else feels kind of out a place in my house. I guess that feeling will slowly fade away as I grow accustomed to the fact that both my parents are gone.
The death of my mother is a turning point in my own life. Though she died pretty suddenly, her health deteriorated in the years leading up to her death. When she was still alive her declining health, and what to do about it, took up a lot of mental space that’s been freed up now she’s no longer here.
Dealing with the aftermath of selling my parental home, sleeping in it with no other person around for the first time ever, and feeling its familiar energy changing as it’s being emptied, made me very aware that I need to move on myself.
That’s easier said than done of course…
But cleaning up my dad’s vintage metal tool box, filling it with my and some of his tools, and using it again to create and do so something I’m passionate about helps. Even if it’s just a bit.
Everyone I know will have or has these types of stories, stories of loss and how to cope with it. An acceptance of its inevitability is the only way to be able to move forward in due time.
In the case of my father’s tool box, it’ll literally help me to move forward when I ride a bike I restored with the tools it now holds.
It’s a beautiful metaphor for what both my parents have given me when they were still alive, and I will be grateful for what they’ve done for me for the rest of my life.