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Idk if it's healthy for unhealthy for me to keep all his items right where he left them... It's only been a little over 3 months and I still have his razor and deoderant by the sink, and I've washed all his clothes except 2 shirts I keep in a bag so I can still smell him.. i still have 2 pairs of pants in my laundry hamper because I can't bare the thought of washing all his clothes for the last time... His body wash and bath sponge are still in my shower too.. I'm just not sure if its hurting me more or if it's normal to harbor these things for a while longer?

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I know-  we used to change the sheets often.  My husband would get into bed with his wool socks on, the wool socks he wore on his daily hikes that picked up all kinds of dirt, burrs, etc.  I was like the princess and the pea-  if I felt anything in the bed that didn't belong in the bed, we changed the sheets.  My husband would insist that there was nothing in the bed.  I would get a flashlight, pull the covers back and show him what I felt.  I would say, 'There are rocks in the bed!'  John would laugh as I showed him a tiny pebble in the bed.  

It has been 5 years plus for me. I kept several things in place for a long time, but have gradually moved things that caused me tears to Goodwill (or just to the back of a closet).  I agree with Norm that each of us has our own process on this.  Six months is very early in the process. Perhaps you could change the sheets but put them in a vacuum sealed bag so you could visit the scent whenever the mood strikes you? It will last longer that way, and you will have clean sheets to sleep on!  

I've had lots of dreams like yours. They have lessened over time. That is a good thing, because though I loved seeing my hubby in my dreams, I hated waking up.  

Music still is painful.  I watched an old episode of Cheers with my son recently ,and relived the first time I had heard the theme song. Not only was my husband was alive and well, but we hadn't had kids yet. I could see our old apartment, with as yet almost no furniture, and him padding around in bare feet, oblivious of all the suffering to come.  It was awful and wonderful in the same moment.  We did nothing wrong, nothing to deserve his shortened life, just had rotten bad luck that has affected so many in our family.  It sure sucks.  

I can't yet listen to music.  We listened to music all the time, my husband was anti-television.  When we were first together we watched 'Hill Street Blues'.  I recently noticed that there was a rerun of it on television, but couldn't watch it.  

And if you think not changing the bed sheets for six months is an issue-   I can't clean out the refrigerator either.  I've had all the change I can take.  

I've still got the last jar of olives in the refrigerator- he liked his martinis.  Haven't eaten one since he died in November, 2016 but I can't throw them out, either.  I'm sure they're pretty squishy by now.  Just gave away the unexpired cans of chili to our church food bank- he liked it and I love it but it's not on my diet- too many carbs, too much fat, etc.  Best to let someone else enjoy it.

I found this discussion that really resonates with me. Ally & Shelley, I had a couple of my husband's tshirts that I wouldn't wash for nearly a year. I didn't want to lose his scent. I still have his bathrobe that has his smell. I dread the day it ceases to have his essence. It has been nearly 20 months, so I know the time will come. I still have the book he was reading right where he left it with his reading glasses sitting atop it. It's the last vestiges of him that I can't alter.

The only things  that need change  in my opinion  are those things  that affect your own health or safety currently  as you process  your  grief.  If you get sick or have an accident because of   not making changes  that endanger you- it's time for tough love.  Bacteria , fungus, mold  etc.   from unwashed or rotting items or  foods   is not sanitary  and can harm  you. So can excess  clutter. Your loved one who has  died  cannot come back to nurse  you  or help you or save  you.  Emotions need quieting when health is concerned.  Neglecting  your  true  needs  just adds fuel to the fire of grief.  Douse  it  with self-preservation.  Life is precious  and fleeting.  Be your own best friend.

Your post reminds me so much of what my Aunt Nancy would say.  She was a registered nurse/nursing professor/nursing pioneer and was confident in her opinions.  We were very close, she supported me unconditionally, and it's sweet to be reminded of her.  My husband was not concerned about bacteria until he had a valve replacement.  Then we were meticulous.  We used q-tips dipped in bleach to clean the creases of plastic containers.  But alas, my husband died of bacterial endocarditis.  He had no symptoms.  He would fall asleep in the dentist's chair.  Items remaining in my refrigerator since my husband's death are all in glass containers, nothing dangerous.  Clutter....  not sure I agree.  Clutter such as a pile of clothes that cannot be tripped over can be very comforting.  My Aunt Nancy would not agree with me.  But we often disagreed.  

Yes, all of this resonates on a lower level. We had an 17 year old cat that we brought back to the US from England. She hated going outside for her business, and she refused to use a kitty box. Turns out, she was using Rick's closet. I cleaned out all the poo, but there was still the cat-pee smell.I kept his bedroom closed, as we had to sleep separately for the last 2  months of his life due to him having to have the bed raised so that he could breathe, and I couldn't sleep on a 45 degree angle. Anyway, to keep the cat smell out, I had to open the windows for the past 5 months,,,,which has completely gotten rid of my Rick's scent on his clothes. I am grateful, since if it still smelled like him, I couldn't have gone  in there.I still have bottles of his cologne, if I ever want to go down that road  to sniff and remember. I haven't touched his room- it's all has he left it the day before he died. Same clothes in the chair, same undies on the floor as well as the socks. My only friend left after his death suggested I make a pillow of his clothes, but since they don't smell of him, what's the point. 

But to all have posted, like our grief, we all have to deal with this in our own way. I don't think I'll be ready to ever completely strip Rick's closet- ever. Even just it's just a few T shirts left.....that's OK and it will leave me with a feeling of he's not truly gone. I know in my heart and slowly, in my head, that he's moved on, but even if  it's just the symbolic pillow from his bathrobe, it will be OK



I have to agree with laurajay's comments on protecting our own health and safety, though I realize that rational decisions do not always come easily when in the throes of grief.  IMHO, our departed loved ones would not have wanted us to endanger our health and/or safety on their behalf. 

Not easy at all.....BUT  if you  are now  living  alone...getting  sick is a true burden...and kinda  scary  when no one is around to help you in any way...first time  after my husband died  I picked  up a bug from my grandchildren....missed  a full Easter  plus  couple weeks  sick in bed  and scared.....I learned  to take as few chances  as possible of getting exposed  to illnesses.  I never  had a warning  but I tell  everyone  about self care now  because  I had  the wretched  experience  of illness  and  having to cope  by myself!  You  do not  want to be very sick and alone  unless you have money  for private  nursing.  It's the true  pits.   Kind of like widowhood...unless  you experience  it  you really  haven't  a clue.  imo

Yes, laurajay, there are times when being alone is genuinely scary.  I didn't marry for the first time till I was 30 and in general I like my peace and quiet but once in awhile it hits me how vulnerable I am.  Last September I got badly dehydrated on a 35-mile bike ride- made it back home and into bed, fortunately had the foresight to bring a 2-L bottle of water with me, and realized at one point that food would be good but I just felt too awful to get up and go into the kitchen.  Thank God I was almost back to normal the next morning.  Another time, after I'd donated blood the day before, I got up to go to the bathroom and fainted (I have borderline low BP).  Not even a bruise- but I think sometimes about what would happen if I really DID fall and couldn't get up.  And I'm not going to wear one of those pendants.  I'm "only" 65!


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