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?
Doug, I would contact your local Council on Aging, I bet they know someone who could use it.
From time to time I come across something belonging to Ray, clothes, shoes, bits and pieces that I am never going to use. Each time it is a hard decision to make to get rid of it and this is after five years. I still have a lot of boxes to go through from where they have been stored and not reviewed in a while so I guess that is an ongoing problem. The hardest things to part with are the birthday presents he never opened as he died eleven days after his 70th birthday. I find them a poignant reminder that by then he was really beyond caring about life. I miss him still.
Well I finally got rid of Frank's favorite..................................knife!! Just a butter knife but he liked it because it had a big handle. He did not like dainty flatware. I have been carrying it around out of habit but now I have all silver flatware (big no-no before, it bothered his teeth). So I finally donated it to the kitchen at the food shelf where I volunteer and will be happy knowing it is there.
Still have his bathrobe (mine now), sweatshirt (too stained to donate, too good to throw out, I use it sometimes) and a hand knit hat he got during chemo and used to wear a lot. I don't think I will ever get rid of it.
I think we hope that if we get the "stuff" out of sight, it will help us not to remember the things that bring so much pain. The first thing I packed up was all Tom's shoes. I certainly couldn't wear them, and just felt them unnecessary. I have passed them on to some less fortunate members of his family. I kept his dress shirts, but they are packed away. His daughter wanted his T shirts. They all were screen prints of different places we went and events we attended. She made them into a quilt and used many of his jeans for another quilt, and Christmas stockings. She did a great job. I might use his shirts for a quilt, but I am not ready to start yet. I loved my husband so much, but feel I must move on. He is gone, and I am here. I do have several beautiful photos of us in our living room.
I am in the process of cleaning up his garage, too. What an achievement! He had a lot of tools and supplies. I plan to have a sale in the spring.
My husband passed away 7 Years who. I still have one suit and his shoes it was hard to leave his clothes at a charity but when I did I cried. I’ve learned there’s no right time. I take it day by day your 6th sense guides you. Everyday is different and each day brings new hope for the future. I’m sorry for your loss.
The women at my church came about a couple of weeks after our Memorial Service for my wife. They took her clothes and gave them to a Woman's Shelter in a nearby town. They secretly saved all her favorite T shirts, made a Quilt out of them and sent it to me as a surprise Christmas Gift! I thought they were so wise in doing that. I cried when I opened that package! She had saved all her vacation T Shirts, saved all her favorite Tennis Tournament T Shirts...
Nevertheless, I regret having given so many things away a year later when I packed my household goods in order to move to Colorado. I was in no emotional condition to make the kind of decisions that way. (That's what I say now...). There are things I thought of and asked, "I wonder what I did with them..." Or, "I wonder where they are now." There are things I missed and cannot find. Did the Movers lose them? Did I give them away? I cannot remember. My conclusion now is that my life was in chaos that first year when I made all kinds of decisions that I shouldn't have made. Too bad. Guess that's life. Most of the stuff are sentimental. But, where are my boots??? I need them for the snow here!
I guess that is why we are told not to make any major decisions in the first year. I did the same thing in the second year with Ray's tools. I asked the local Men's Shed to come and take what they wanted and they cleaned out all the best things and left me with the rubbish. Of course before long I needed tools and had none. But we have to realise that it takes a long time to just think of ourselves as just one person living alone.
There is very little, if anything, that I got rid of that I wish I still had. When I got home from the hospital after my husband died, I immediately started putting underwear and socks in bags, because those were things with little meaning. Other things took longer and I tried to make lemonade out of lemons by donating and freecycling as much as possible. Mostly I just let things "speak to me" -- literally. I would hold a shirt in my hand and let it tell me if I should keep it. For me, finding new homes for things and in some cases, actually meeting the people who took his stuff, allowed them to "live on" in a way that just dumping stuff would not have.
When I moved 2 years later, everything I had accumulated over 20 years became "Do I really want to move this?" You'd be amazed at how things you couldn't bear to part with or thought you absolutely had to have become unnecessary when you're faced with packing and unpacking them. The only thing that got lost in my move was my grandmother's rolling pin, and unfortunately that is irreplaceable.
Bergen, I also liked the idea of freecycling things- in my case I used Craigslist and just put items at the end of my driveway, although I did meet a few people who came to pick things up. One was a guy who was thrilled to get Ron's power tools (I did keep the drill and the belt sander) and another picked up his vinyl records. Over a year later, his underwear is still in a drawer; most places don't want used underwear and I'm not ready to throw it out.
Now I'm finding myself buying replacements of things I discarded! We had two bathroom scales when we downsized and I got rid of both; after my weight crept up 6 lbs. I bought a high-tech one that talks to my phone and produces graphs. (Happily, I have reversed that and have lost 3 lbs.) I also threw out a hair dryer and now, when I see how much better my hair looks when I blow it dry at the gym rather than just letting it hang, I think I want another one.
One thing I could not bring myself to part with was my husband's old dresser. It's not that it was such a beautiful piece; he'd picked it up off the curb long before he met me. One handle was broken off by him in a fit of pique when the drawers started sticking, it had remnants of old stickers on it from his days in a hippie house in the 1970s...cigarette burn marks, etc. It was pretty much useless, and I thought when I moved that I would have a junk man pick it up. But I found that it had so many associations with our life together that I just couldn't do it. So I brought it with me here to NC where it sat on my screened porch for a year. A neighbor told me about a furniture refinisher, so I spent a ton of money letting this guy restore it. Now it is in my dining room, providing storage for my crockpots, roasting pan, and other things too big for the cabinets. Check out the before and after:
But you know what? Sometimes I miss the way it used to look! (:-O)
really nice result though!!