Forced to stay home, it was time to open that almost-forgotten trunk

by Vivianne M. Silver

I did it! Safely at home as advised by medical authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, I finally opened the trunk in the corner of our bedroom.

When we moved to our condo, four and a half years ago after 37 years in our home, I had hastily placed in that container many papers, photographs, books and letters.

I had told myself that once settled, I would take the time to go through it all. That never happened. As a new volunteer docent at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, there simply were not enough hours in my days.

Today, down the memory lane ritual began in earnest. The process was a most enriching one as I felt immense gratitude for some of my professional and personal accomplishments. It was also a joyful one at reading beautiful cards from my husband, my sons and grandsons.

I did shed some tears as I read the last birthday card my beloved late younger brother Raymond wrote to me. He had so thoughtfully added a small seashell knowing how much I loved the sea. His wise words resonate today “We must enjoy living now because life is too short.”

I also found a beautiful note from my late childhood friend Lys from her home in England. Ever since our forced exile from Egypt in 1957 after the Suez War, we had faithfully kept in touch across the ocean. We had managed to celebrate the gift of our lifelong friendship by meeting once a year in London, or in Montreal. Her last missive was dated February 2016, closing a 65 year chapter of our relationship.

Needless to say, I have not finished digging into the well of my life. It’s a process that will probably take a few more hours of discoveries.

And, there you have it — the Upside of self-isolation.

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