I haven’t gotten rid of his things. Not only because they are his things, but because of the neat orderly way he liked to keep things. I’m afraid if I change things I will lose part of him, I will lose who he made us, I will lose how he changed me.
Maybe that is part of this grief process, internalizing who he was and letting go of the external. Letting go of the neatly hung clothes, keeping the orderliness and simplicity. Letting go of the cheese he bought, keeping the nutritious life. (Yes, I still have some unopened feta cheese we went out of our way to buy that last week. He was so picky about his feta and it was either an expensive one at Publix or Trader Joe’s brand.)
I just feel like I don’t yet have the mental or emotional capacity to preserve all he was, in my heart and mind, and so I hold on to things until I can.
I’m getting closer. I have a goal of one drawer. It’s more than just bagging things up and giving them away. I have to decide what to keep for myself and Zoya. I have to decide what to give away and where to give it. And I have to soak up every bit of memory and story that comes from his things, learn its lesson, recognize the gift he was to me, determine how he will impact my future.
Everyone has their own timetable. Some people need to give things away immediately, others prefer to keep things the same for years. I think it is almost time for me to start the process. There is a danger of him being reduced to his things, if I keep them too long. There is part of me that thinks I need to give things away so that I am embracing who he is now and not clinging to the remnants of who he was. But no one should be pushed to this point. Had I gotten rid of things, before I could have appreciated the process, I would have regretted it. But were I to keep things the same forever, I believe his things would start to grow larger than his very life that continues.
It is time for me. Slowly. But for others who are dealing with loss, my biggest recommendation is to know that your time is your time, it will be unique, so don’t let others pressure you to do things until you are ready. You may need it gone now. You may need it to stay forever. You are a unique creation and you are missing a unique creation. Do things your way.
Camila-for me, the first things I could let go were Fred’s winter coats. Patrick Jenkins did his weekend bucket truck collection in January of 2015, and I felt that the coats were better off with someone who needed them than in the closet.
You are right, it is a process and one to be done in one’s own time. I have not finished, nor will I ever be probably. But I have been able to release most of the clothes knowing that there are some who can use them–and I’m not small enough to wear them!