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?
My husband has been gone for almost 14 months. I cleaned out his closet two days ago and the contents sit in big, black, bags in the garage until I can take them to donate. It was hard and heartbreaking. It got to a point where it just felt heavy to have all his clothes, shoes, etc, here, when he isn't. I felt like it was one of those things that I needed to do, to move forward. I kept a few small items, that made it some easier. I would imagine that at some point, I will part with them as well. For some reason, I felt the same about my wedding rings, early on. I wore my rings for a month before I decided it was too painful to look down and see them, like things hadn't changed, but they had, and drastically. I went to a jeweler and had the diamond from my engagement ring, placed into a simple band. I now wear that on the third finger of my left hand. For me, it's a symbol that he still has my heart, and though we are no longer "married" we are still connected.
This morning I used Craigslist and got rid of the tent DH and I had used for camping a few times (not something that interests me without DH), a camping lantern and, sadly, a kit for a Shaker table that DH had only partly completed before he got ill. It was one of a pair and I do have the one he completed. I hope the people ho get them enjoy them.
I'm glad that my engagement ring has a pink center stone (imperial topaz). When I'm ready to take off my rings, I can wear that on my right hand when I want to.
I don't think you're silly at all DaninKansasCity. I lost my husband more than 3 years ago and I continue wear both our wedding bands. My engagement ring keeps his ring from sliding off my finger. It's a personal choice and I choose to keep our rings on.
Not silly at all- you do what feels right. Most days when all I;m doing is going to the gym or weeding the garden I just wear my wedding band- it's a small, plain platinum one so pretty much indestructible. I never take it off. I might at the one-year mark (it's been only 6 months). I figure I'm not ready to date till I'm ready to take off that ring. No rush.
Everyone is different about this. I took my wedding ring off after three months because it felt just not right to keep wearing it. I wanted some kind of ring, because I had been wearing a ring on that finger for 27 years. So I bought a white gold ring with a black diamond in the middle, surrounded by tiny white ones. It looks like an Egyptian eye, and since my husband was into all things ancient Egyptian, it reminds me of him and the black diamond symbolizes the void his loss represents. It is a really pretty ring, people always comment on it, and it is ambiguous enough that some people have bought the same ring as an engagement or wedding ring. So it works for me.
The other belongings are just as individual. I came home from the hospital and started putting underwear and socks in trash bags. That sounds harsh, I know, but my husband was a packrat and I knew enough to know that if I didn't start immediately, I would never start. It took me the better part of the two years I lived in my house after he died to winnow it all down. I had a yard sale for some things. He had bequeathed some things. I donated a LOT of clothing. I took 9 suits and 5 blazers and about two dozen dress shirts still in the wrappers to the Men's Wearhouse suit drive Those went to an organization that helps men getting out of prison interview for jobs so they can support their kids. I felt good about that. Everything I donated or gave away that someone could benefit from or really liked made it hurt less. There is nothing I gave away or donated that I regret or wish I still had. In one of my bedroom closets there are five shirts and a blazers that I still keep. And there are two storage bins of T-shirts, his size 13 Adidas basketball shoes, and some memorabilia. I am also keeping those.
Like most things, you can only do what you think is right at the time and none of us are to know what might hit you some time down the line. You posted some time ago, so I hope things are easier now.
I still have Jeff's toothbrush in the bathroom, along with his razor because that feels comfortable to me. His clothes are in the closet, insulin is in the fridge and his coat on the stand in the hall. The children like to see these things on their sporadic visits home. That's ok, but I am becoming more aware that it's one thing to come back and see these things from time to time and then leave ... it is another thing entirely to live surrounded with that life and face that loss anew each day, whilst trying to make a future. I haven't got that balance yet.
As to rings, I have two (lost original one, bought second one, found original one!) so, I am having our original ones smelted together and made into two rings, one for each daughter. That way there is no argument over who gets what when I die. I've seen a lot of families divided over such seemingly small things so I'm trying to put things in place to avoid that heartache.
Wishing you all a good day.
Doug, it took me well over a year (I'm at 15 months now) to even be able to stomach letting go of some of Morris' things. I gave his van (which died right after I paid it off - thank you, Universe!) to a Viet Nam veterans organization, they auction the vehicle off for parts and give the proceeds to disabled Viet Nam veterans. I think Morris would have liked that. Then l found another organization that accepts clothing for veterans, and I donated a lot of his nicer clothing to them. They even came to the house to pick it up! He was always helping others in need, so I thought he would like it if I did these things. It just felt right, but it took some time for me to get there. Take your time, do what that still, small voice inside you tells you to do, because that voice has never steered me wrong yet, not even once. God bless.
Heartily second, yes, do what feels right and you will know when. The universe will speak to you in some way.
My spouse's van, which functioned as a sort of man cave, was totaled when someone sideswiped me in it about a month after his death. I joked that the old van just could not go on without him.
My older daughter got me a beautiful new watering can last year, and I overwatered and killed an African violet that I had kept going for 30 years, it was on a reception table at our wedding. My younger daughter told me that happened for a reason, time to let go a little bit.
Just cleaned out a closet where I had kept a few remaining items -- favorite coats and jackets, his tux. There are people out there who will be cold this winter without those coats, time for them to go.
His aunt just gave me the name of school where she donated all his uncle's camera equipment, so inventorying and donating the camera equipment is next on my list. Oh dear, then all the Lionel model train stuff -- he was a man of many enthusiasms! Bit by bit, when I'm ready.
widow85, inch by inch and row by row, we all sow the seeds we need to sow. No one can tell us when it's time, it's just whenever. I have been feeling better since I donated those items, large and small, to the veterans' organizations. I think Morris is happy about that. I know I am for now, and for today that's enough. Wishing us all some peace and tranquility today, and going forward.
Friday is the 2nd anniversary of the heart attack and stroke that put Arlene in a coma for her last 8 days. Her closet still has her clothes in it and so far, I've only been able to get rid of her shoes and underwear, because given what had gone on with her feet, they couldn't be donated, or at least I would feel uncomfortable doing so. When I took her underwear out of her dresser, I put them in a trash bag and put it in the closet, I couldn't get rid of them until the 9 month mark, at which time I just ripped off the bandage and did it. At some point, I will empty her closet and dresser and put the clothes in a tub in the basement but that will be a terrible day for me, because it will be with the knowledge that what I bring downstairs wont be replaced by something else she would be wearing. it will mean I am emptying her closet for the last time. I AM thinking that I will take at least some of her clothes out of the closet to make room for things that can be stored in there, when I do, that will be another day of just "ripping off the bandaid".