My mother requested we burn all the bills and other personal papers that she and her second husband saved for the duration of their marriage (over 34 years). Actually, it may have been the burning of the bills Part I, because there is a boatload left to do. All that ink and money up in smoke. My sister had suggested shredding it when we collected all of it from her condo at the end of the summer, but my mother insisted on a bonfire. Clearly a lot more ceremonial and dramatic. My sister and her partner have been storing all of it in their garage — more than nine big garbage bags full.
Last night, my sister, her partner, my brother (who was visiting for the weekend), and my mother were at it for a long time and barely made it through one bag. And besides, the chocolate fudge cake with coconut fudge ice cream and raspberry sauce was beckoning them. So last night’s burning will probably remain symbolic and the rest of the bags will be taken to be shredded. When I asked my mom how it felt to burn it all, she said, “It felt real good. A lot better than shredding.”