In my hometown of Westerville, we frequented a thrift store run by “old” ladies in a beautiful, magical and—to my child eyes—gigantic house. Every time we went there, I would go into the crowded closets and touch the back walls. Over and over again, I hoped that this time my fingertips would find pine needles instead of solid wood. That my sneakers would be crunching cold snow instead of worn hats and the hems of discarded prom dresses. That I would return from the closet with the memory of hot tea and an eerie, entrancing melody instead of the smell of mothballs and a pair of dusty, cowboy boots. The backs of closets are still enticing. I know that I won’t find my Narnia. What I will find are old journals and letters, memories forgotten, a few trinkets of who I used to be.
A few years ago, much of my childhood paraphernalia was stolen. Due to bizarre circumstances, my treasured stories (which I wrote in manic frenzy, for as fast as I could write them, more pushed their way into my imagination), my carefully maintained and beloved doll collection, and my childhood diaries and letters were tossed out like garbage. (I still hold to the hope that someone rescued those dolls and that some little girl loves them as I did.)
Loss is one of the saddest things a human being can feel. As one who truly believes in redemption, I wonder if this too can be reincarnated. Can loss be reborn into something beautiful?