My wife of 19-years passed away from an incurable disease 2/12/2014. The week after the funeral, I enlisted the help of my sister-in-law to go through 3-boxes of her books and some clothes. What a mistake that was! Books - no problem, take them all. Clothes - Man did that rip right through me; and it was my idea! How stupid can I get? Guess I didn't learn my lesson since I'm posting it for all to see. You're thoughts?
Hey, so it's been 7 months since I lost my Jesse. I've recently decided to move and even bought a new place to move to. It's much smaller, I'm giving myself plenty of time to move, but I just don't know how I can let go of all his stuff. I won't be able to fit it in my new place, plus I think if I dropped everything off at Goodwill, someone will get to benefit from it all. I'd of course keep a few meaningful items. Just that first step of boxing it up seems to cripple me. Plus there's all the tools. I'm asking the male members of the family and no one can find uses for them. I could still them but wouldn't even know what to charge! Plus dealing with Craig's listing seems horrible At the moment, let alone arranging a full yard sale. Imagine that sign, "come to my dad husband's stuff sale" \: I wish it was easier.
Had to start disposing of my husbands "stuff" just 2 weeks after the funeral. Knew I would be selling the house and there was just a huge amount of everything. Did not want help with personal things. Donated 50 plus large trash bags of clothing to a Veterns charity. Went through thousands and thousands of papers and threw over 99% out. Did have help from my kids throwing out 1500 VCR tapes -movies copied at slow speed or political speeches that I did not want to listen to the 1st time. Was putting out 12-15 large trash bags on the curb every week for garbage pickup! It took me 8 months - sometimes I was very sad and sometimes I was just mad - and now after almost 10 months the house is on the market. My husband knew he was dying and we had talked about the need for me to move to a small apt or condo - but he just never could bring himself to throw anything out! Have made 25 trips to the electronics dump - including bringing maybe 30 non-working computers and 10 TV's. I have also been getting rid of my "stuff" and want to live a minimalist life - and not make my children do what I have had to do this past year. I loved my husband but his hoarding made this difficult time just so much more difficult. (on the bright side - I have been kept very busy -and I still work part time too).
My husband died suddenly at the age of 39 on 2/18/2014. We were living in a hotel when he died because our pipes had burst causing water damage to our entire bottom floor. I was forced to go through and pack his belongings in order to get the repairs done to our home. I just moved back into my house this last Friday. I am sure I could have been back sooner, but I was and still am scared. Going through his clothes and putting them in space bags to keep his smell was so hard. Packing up all his books and the books we read together, I will miss reading with him so much. The hardest was packing up his CD's. He used modern technology and listened to his crazy music on his iPhone, but those CD's represent Jeff. Jeff was one of a kind, diverse and loyal. We really did not share music taste at all. He called himself a "music snob" and I guess he was. He liked the metal bands. But he also liked SImon and Garfunkel, which was one of my Dad's favorite groups (I lost my Dad less than 2 months before my husband on 12/27/2013). I miss him so much and I have unpacked some of his things. I need them around.
I waited about a year and then I decided I would do it in stages. I started by cleaning my closets out and gathering up those things which I didn't like anymore or didn't wear. Then as an extension of that I went through my husband's closets and gathered up those things which I know HE didn't like or wasn't wearing anymore. That didn't feel too bad because I knew he wasn't using those things anyway... After I bagged everything up to donate to the hospice thrift shop I let them "rest" a week or so before taking them for donation - just to make sure I wouldn't change my mind. After that, as the season's changed I gathered things that were out of season and donated them. Finally, I decided that to save several "sets" of clothes which reminded me most of him as I saw him everyday in retirement which meant a light ash gray sweatshirt, jeans and a golf shirt. I even put his LL Bean bison leather belt through his jeans' belt loops and hung them in such a way that I could the whole "outfit" at a glance when I opened the closet door and I liked that. I did save his silk ties which I might cut up into small squares and sew into a toss pillow.
There's no right time or easy way and taking the first step is the hardest but if you can at least make a plan for yourself and decide on an approach and which things you'd like to save than you've taken a huge step! You don't have to act on it until you feel ready. And just do a little bit at a time. Maybe coats and jackets one month, winter clothes the next month, etc.
birman_lover, I did he hospice thrift shop too. I knew in my heart that it would do something good for others and like you, hospice did a lot for us so I was glad to help. It tore me up at first but I know Kathy would have appreciated them going to help others as well. I kept of course several items I loved seeing her in as well as her wedding dress and the dress she was wearing the day I met her. Those things will always be too special to let go. I also realize that given enough time, the clothes left hanging will just deteriorate(that is if we live long enough). I gave some shoes, one in particular which was a Christmas pair, to my daughter in law as she has the same shoe size. It pleases me to see her wearing them at family gatherings. Kathy did indeed have very good taste. People always compliment me on my clothes. I just say "thanks, my wife got the for me".
mannaribbit, I am sorry for you loss of someone so young and so recently too. Our thoughts are with you for the difficult journey ahead. It is good that you found this safe house to come to.
I think that is completely normal. Mike has been gone 995 days and I still have almost everything he had and much of it right where he left it. It may sound strange to have everything still but I find it all familiar and comfortable and see no reason to move or discard of things as long as I'm living in the house. When I move from here I'll make changes but for now I'm good. Everyone is different some need to clean out and others of us seem to hoard.
When I was 7 or 8 weeks out like you are now I was sure I wouldn't make it and didn't want to anyway. But I'm OK today. I don't know when it happened exactly maybe sometime after the second full year I really started to accept it and get myself back together again....found my footing and my sense of humor again. Go easy on yourself it is all still so new for you.
Please be careful of the drinking. I am not a drinker but started a very regular habit in the months immediately after Mike died. It is very easy to do just don't let it go too far.
dear 4dogsintx, I kinda new on the site but confess that it was the best thing that happened to me!. I chanced on your reply to Doug02 and knew your advice was credible because I had issues with drinking. I have been a casual drinker over the years and occasionally indulged with the right friends. My late wife of course like most good mates restrained me when the need arose, so I was not into excessive drinking. When she passed sleep was an issue. At about the time she woke up and insisted that I should get her to the hospital ahead of our appointment for a check up, I wake up and sleep was gone for that night. Couple with the fact that I lost my appetite and was in shock, I turned to alcohol. It became my fuel in the myriad of planning the funeral and other associated activities. I would grab a beer and drain it and get back to whatever I was doing. Then nit became regular and kept increasing. When I had a near vehicle accident from exhaustion sleeplessness and alcohol, I knew I had to hit the brakes. After the funeral, I continued, not like before but on a regular basis. 9 days ago I decided to go cold turkey, after a friend of mine called me and asked how i was doing. I said I was doing okay with the help of some beer along the way. She said I should plan to stop. The following day I decided and so far I am sure I am done with all forms of alcohol for the rest of my life. I have had enough to last me for a life time and strangely enough I do not miss it. I have started swimming and at like the way I feel.
Enzo, work on the drinking part; everybody has their own pace. Somehow, mine just got some freak fast track. I think I was just waiting for someone to tell me to stop. Therapy is not common here. is the audiobook The Power Of Now by Eckart Tolle available online? I would appreciate some info.
Thanks to you all for sharing.
Of course it's normal - especially in the first eight weeks! After a couple of months I started taking a sightly different approach. Whenever I came across papers, a signature, anything that surprised me in the middle of the day instead of crying I would just pick it up, kiss it and say "hi, Bud." I decided that my husband's spirit was with me at that moment and that he just popped in to catch my attention. I know it sounds a bit crazy but it sort of helped to relieve my upset. Everyone's different but I found that while I enjoyed my wine every evening it definitely depressed me which is when I would become weepy so I actually stopped for a rather long while. Just observe yourself and listen to your physical and psychological needs as the months pass ...
birman, I like your comment about kisses not tears. I think that is a great way to deal with coming across things. I do some of the same things. There is a little stuffed critter in a basket at the end of the kitchen counter -one that was kind of his image :). Often when I go past it I say hi or good morning/night. Just a small connection. Last week I started to go through some of his things, mostly cleaning out clothes that were worn or stained and I found myself talking to him - like "isn't it time to get rid of these you don't need so many "work" shirts. Then I started consolidating things and putting them in a different drawer -asking him "is it ok if we move them over there?". As I was tying up the throw away and rag bags - I began to wonder if i was "losing it" sometimes I wonder why the brain just doesn't seem to work normaly. HUGS to all