I have this great jacket- fleece lined denim with embroidered pockets, had it for years- it’s kept me warm not just in Alaska, but through the all the adventures of our Germany trip last December.

It was with a sign of resignation that I placed it on top of the pile in the consignment bag today, along with a handful of sweaters, one red satin dress, and a collection of heels ranging from gold to emerald to ruby.

You wouldn’t know how much stuff I’ve let go of recently if you walked around my house and peeked into my closets, so full they still look and feel. But after numerous runs to the salvation army, consignment shops, little free book stands, and a few lucky friends, I see the difference. There’s less in this home, and it feels a little sad.

But we won’t really be taking too much with us when we move, so from now until then it’s sort, release, let go, goodbye.

I loved that jacket and I loved what it represented- it saw all the cobblestone streets and museums and colorful buildings and christkindlmarkts of Germany that I did, so much happiness. But you don’t need a long, fleece lined coat in Kauai, and I sense that, more than just the practicality of clearing space so we don’t have as much to move, I’m clearing space in my heart and soul and emotional life.

Stuff comes with memories and associations. An energy attached from the space it held.

And I am committed to only taking things into our new life that hold irreplaceable joy and represent new space.

So maybe it’s okay to let go of that adorable pink dress I once bought when I was newly single and wanted to go out on the town and paint it red and hot and blush.

Maybe it’s okay to let go of those old pictures and furnishings I brought from a former time, a former home, a former partner, a former life.

Maybe it’s okay to let go of most things that take up space in our current home, no matter how colorful and lovely, and trust that when we get to our island we will find new things to fill our rooms with cheer and charm.

And maybe it’s okay to let go of that fleece lined jacket that held me so warmly for the last few years; walked me through Germany, so I could honor my brother’s last wishes and meet his friends; sheltered me in the cold of Alaska, so my hippie boho chic side could express herself without freezing.

Maybe some great new person will now buy it and appreciate it, and my old coat will go on to make new, happy memories.

Maybe things aren’t meant to be forever, and when it is time to let it go, we learn to let it go.

And that is life lately- it’s time to let go. With only a few months left, we are running out of time, so I find myself practicing gratitude and thankfulness for the memories I’ve had with my stuff, the things I’ve belonged to, the people I love- even as I set it all free in my heart.

My brother taught me how to do that.

It wasn’t a lesson I particularly wanted to learn, nor would I recommend if you haven’t gone through it. But those of us who are forced to find resolution to something that was abruptly ripped from the roots of our hearts, those of us who’ve truly faced and processed and stared into the void of an innermost, intrinsic to who we were, loss- we know how to set things free.

Know how to say thank you every single day for the beauty of what was, the time we did have with them. Know how to ultimately focus on the things created during that time instead of the things that will never be. And know how to say I love you, godspeed, fare thee well, rest in peace-

I will see you someday again, my friend, and in the meantime, the stars.

Those of us who know how to do those things know how to let go of a favorite winter coat.

And we know and trust that whatsoever is right and true and meant to last will always find a way to come back to our hearts. Sometimes just in different form.

The other day my husband made a consignment run for me. I’d bravely put one of my favorite sweaters- “pizza” it says in knit with a little red heart for the dot on the “i”- in the bag, trying to be ruthless in my “getting rid ofs,” reasoning that I had other sweaters I loved so this one could go.

I returned home from work to find it on the bed. I don’t know what happened, it must have fallen out in the car, I found it when I got home, he said. I guess it wanted you to keep it.

I put it on the next day with my familiar red jeans, suddenly glad I hadn’t given it away after all. As we sat eating pizza last night (you really can’t wear that sweater and not order a cheesy gooey pie; power of suggestion), I remembered that the place we ordered from was Brent’s favorite too.

Took a big bite in his honor, felt my heart remember, then thought how great this sweater will look with cut off shorts on a breezy night in Kauai where I can stare at the stars, say “I see you my friend” then return to a new space of home.