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Yesterday I moved all of my husbands clothes out of our room. Even his socks and jocks. And I am proud of myself. 

It will be five months this week since he passed. Until yesterday all of his things were as he had left them. I had tidied a little but I couldn't bring myself to move them. His toiletries are all still in the bathroom where he left them. His hat is still perched on top of my wine rack ready for him to grab it on the way to work. his side of the bedroom is still a mess as he left it. Very little has been moved at all. It was too painful to touch, much less move. 

We have three boys and they will one day be big tall strong men like their dad. I decided that rather than get rid of all his clothes, I would simply put them all away and one day the boys can go through it all when they are men and choose what they want to keep. I had a brief discussion with one of them last week asking him how he felt about moving it all. He asked what other people did. When I mentioned donating them to charity, he was adamant that NO that was not what he wanted to have happen. So it ALL went into storage. The boys helped me. The man had a LOT of clothes!!!!! 

After the clothes had been moved I then rearranged mine. There is so much more room in there now. It took me all day to sort through my clothes and do a cull, move his stuff out and then rearrange the room a little. At the end of the day I looked at what is becoming "my" room and I felt proud. Proud of myself. I am not at all sure if I "should" be feeling proud. Shouldn't I be feeling extra sad? But you know what, I don't. I didn't rush it, I didn't force it. I waited till it was time and then got on with the job. I think because I have postponed the getting rid of his clothes it softens the blow. Nothing has gone, it is just out of my way. The boys are happy with my decision and know exactly where it all is should they want something. It didn't all smell like him which was sad, but I think it helped as well. It was just a stack of clean clothes that one day will see the light of day again. It was sad. There were feelings of loss. Mostly though there was a strong sense that the time was right.

Yesterday was all about his clothes. There is still his side of the room with a whole cupboard full of his stuff, most of it just spread about haphazard; but he knew where everything was! There is also still the bathroom and a few other odds and ends around the house. Part of me wants to get stuck into that cupboard. I am excited now about making the room all pretty and "mine". I wont though. I will sit with it a bit longer until one day, I know the time will come to do the next step. Turns out that there will come a time. Turns out that if I let grief lead, I will be fine. There are times to cry and wail, there are times to get busy, there are times to remember and times to share with friends. One day, probably soon, it will be time to take the next step. 

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Comment by Miss Em (Emma) on September 17, 2018 at 3:38pm

Hahaha - your fit of rage Steve. I haven't done that, but I get it at the same time. I could picture you doing it too.
I still havent moved his stuff out of the bathroom, but the bedroom is becoming more and more mine. I dont know why I cant move the bathroom stuff but can the bedroom stuff! I guess there is no making sense of any of it really

Comment by Steve on September 17, 2018 at 12:28am

Hi Miss Em.  You are doing things right, just the way that is right for you and your children!  For me, it was approx 18 months before I moved Mikes things out of our bedroom.  At that time, I couldn’t bare to give anything away, or donate yet, but like you, my first step was moving everything to the garage.  When I was ready, I did everything at once from the bedroom.  It was really bizarre to be in our bedroom, without any of his stuff in there anymore, after sharing a bedroom close to 31 years.  Our bathroom, was kind of a different story.  Lol.  In the first months after his passing, I had a ton of rage and devastation at the same time.   Once again, I had fallen asleep one night, slept a couple of hours, and woke to the horrible pain of not having him in bed next to me.  

This particular night, I was so full of rage, I went into the restroom to pee, and saw all of mikes colognes, watches, antiperspirant, mouthwashes, toothbrush, so on, on the countertop.  I thought in my “sanity” ...”oh no”l”. If you are going to die and leave me, you don’t get to have all your crap in my bathroom anymore”!  Lol.  I took my arms and just ran them all across the countertops, shoving everything off the countertop onto the floor!  Glass breaking, things bouncing and clinking, and banging.  Then I went to kitchen and got a big trash bag, while being so mad at mike, like we were in a big fight, talking to him the entire time, “oh no”!  I will just throw all your shit in the trash mister!  Taking the trash bag into the bathroom, and I emptied out every drawer, medicine cabinet, under the sink, everything went into the trash!  Lol.  There wasn’t so much as a spare role of toilet paper left in the bathroom, I threw such a fit of anger.  Then I went back to bed and cried for hours again.  

Until I decided to clean out the bedroom, all of his stuff remained as he left it.  Shoes, slippers under his side of bed, robe hung on the bedpost, his jewelry box on his nightstand, I kept it all in the garage until my 4th year out when I decided I was ready to clean out entire house and move away, into my new life.  

Comment by Boswife on September 15, 2018 at 5:45pm

My husband died in February of this year. I might be out of the ordinary, I sent some special items to a couple of people and donated the rest of his clothing within a few weeks. I saved a few shirts, his favorites, and his softball jersey for our 7 year old son. I knew if I didn’t do it quickly, I would never do it. I don’t feel at all bad about it, everyone handles things differently. He is not forgotten nor have we moved on, we talk about him everyday. We have pictures and such all around but I felt it would be easier for me to deal with right away, instead of months or years later. 

Comment by YLG on September 15, 2018 at 4:38pm

There were many small moments. Like unloading the dryer filled with Martin's clothes. The same ones he wore in the day of the night he passed. At first, I blindly shoved them into his dresser. And I realized that neither of our sons would ever fit into anything because they are not going to be his height-- and they did not wear tightie whities. (His "boys" needed a home!) so, save for a select few things, without guilt, I got rid of many casual things and eventually, his work attire. I saved the shoes in hopes that I can find a person who works with leather to make wallets for each kid...I have more stuff than I thought after nearly two years, but, I am okay. I guess there is really no timeline.

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on September 2, 2018 at 3:23am

I'm the exception - 11 years later, I still have all of Bob's clothing in space bags except his socks & tighty whities. It was 2 years before I packed them up ...

I've begun sewing again since my daughter decided she wants to use Dad's shirts for dresses, skirts & bomber jackets, etc. Not only are there diy tutorials on how to make them, I've had a rush of style ideas throughout the day & night as well as when I wake on what to make. It's a perk from no longer grieving. Anyhoo, some of Bob's ties choosen by the kids were made into small quilts for framing. The boys now wear his bolo ties & boots proudly. They've grown as well as adjusted & are now ready to decide what they want of Dad's belongings ...

Everything that was left to me is mine & theirs. I became desensitized to Bob's stuff after a couple years, however, they still hold great memories that make me smile as well as our kids. It was a personal choice that was also a tremendous help for the kids (11, 13 & 33 years old at the time) in preserving his existence as they also became desensitized while making all necessary adjustments to Dad's death ...

There aren't any rules, however, there a good choices that can be made for your benefit & for your kids. Teenagers & young adults, sometimes, have a more difficult time w/reminders. Just as young children that do not have the coping skills to deal w/death. Teenagers & young adults are more apt to want to forget even though grief nags at them they simply want to move on in life. It's not healthy & will come back sometime in life, however, they can't be forced - just shown how best to cope w/grief. I still remember lessons from my Mother who was widowed when I was 9 months old, then again, at 5 years old. Her grief ended for both husband's when I became a teenage - it made a remarkable difference. The only major complaints my siblings, step siblings & I had was she never talked about our fathers as well as got rid of all their belongings as if she had erased them from our lives. My 6 siblings & I were left w/one picture of our father. My step siblings received nothing of their father's. Relatives as they are refused to lend pictures to have them copied. Later in the years, I came to learn there was a special item each child held a sentimental attachment to ...

Blessings on your journey ...

Comment by Gary'swife on September 1, 2018 at 4:01pm

Frank P - WE understand.  My mother was with me for some time when my first husband was dying, and when he died.  About 4 days after the funeral she wanted to help me clean out his closet, get rid of all of his clothes.  I was horrified, I couldn't imagine doing such a thing.  I think it took me six months before I could give away any of his clothes,  and it took me 13 years (when I move) until I finally managed to let go of most of his things.    As time goes by, the pain lessens.  Sending hugs

   

Comment by Frank P on September 1, 2018 at 7:31am

HI EVERYONE , I LOST MY WIFE MARY JULY 5TH, ALSO MY BEST FRIEND AND GIRLFRIEND AND , I HAVE NOT TOUCHED A SINGLE THING OFHERS NOR COULD I EVEN THINK OF IT[SOMEONE ASKED ME ALREADY,AS WE KNOW NO ONE GETS IT]THE COMFORT OF HER STUFF IS SOMETHING OTHER PEOPLE WOULD NEVER KNOW, I HAVE DECIDED TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE[IM ALONE WITH MY AWESOME DOG,THANK GOD FOR HIM, MY STEPSON IS OUT OF STATE] FOR A WEEK DOWN THE BEACH, AFTER ALOT OF THOUGHT , MY WIFE"S  FAMILY IS COMING THAT WOULD MAKE HER SMILE, IT WILL BE HARD BECAUSE WE ALWAYYS WENT AS MUCH AS WE COULD, I AM LOOKING FOWARD TO IT BUT SCARED, I FEEL LIKE IT WILL BE YEARS BEFORE I COULD MAKE ANYOTHER MOVE,HER CELL PHONE IS STILL ON , ALL THINGS IN HOUSE UNTOUCHED, I EVEN HAVE HER WELCOME BALLONS IN DINING ROOM FROM LAST HOSPITAL STAY, THE PAIN IS UNREAL, THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME IN YOUR COMMUNITY GOD BLESS EVERYONE

Comment by DIVA70 on August 31, 2018 at 10:15pm

Its been four months for me and I still have not moved any of my husband's belongings. Like you I will know when the time is right. My children are all adults and they say whatever I decide is ok with them. I know he's not coming back but right now I actually take comfort in looking at his toothbrush and reading the last list of reminders he kept on his nightstand. I had his phone service disconnected but I still have his phone. Thank you for sharing. 

Comment by NancyD on August 31, 2018 at 2:44pm

Yes, EarthSpirit, it's lots of ups and downs for me, too.  Peace is the best thing to wish for, isn't it?

Shoosie 2. you are the first person I've read here to mention the pain of the doing the taxes.  I get it.  I too filed for an extension for 2017 as Frank had worked at the business he owned for 3/4 of that year.  I am just finally rounding up all the last paperwork of his part of the business (a law firm specializing in estate planning and taxation, no less!!!) He sold the business to our son two weeks before he passed.  I dread filing the taxes as they are as complicated as only a tax attorney could have made them!!!  He loved fighting with the IRS.  I hate it.  When he passed in September last year, my son and I had to hustle to get the 2016 tax return done.  Not thinking clearly.  We made a few mistakes and I ended up having to pay quite a bit more.  And at the same time, I had to take over the correspondence (arguments---Frank was enjoying the fight) with the IRS about our 2015 tax returns!   I just caved and paid the money they said we owed.  

I've had quite a few "talks" with Frank about this since he's been gone---and I think he is assuring me that I've done the right thing to stop fighting.  :)  And m oving forward my tax situation should be pretty simple as my finances now are pretty simple.  

Comment by EarthSpirit (Carol) on August 31, 2018 at 2:03pm

This discussion touches me in so many ways. It will be 11 months for me this coming week, and I’ve not been able to remove his clothes from our closet. I just can’t imagine them not being there, across from mine. His dresser still holds his underwear and socks, shorts and T-shirts. I know I need to put his underwear in the trash, but it seems like throwing a part of Him away too...which is so painful to think about. I know I’ll do it one day, just waiting for the right time, as we all do, no rules for this, thankfully. I was sadly amazed that his clothing didn’t retain his smell, but his hairbrush did, as it was a natural bristle brush. A breath of that makes me whole again. The only thing I changed in our bedroom was replacing the king-size bed with a full size one. Ralph was 6’4” and I’m 5’2”, so a smaller bed was more suitable and far less lonely. I disposed of toiletries but still keep his glasses and wallet...the latter I use. Most of these efforts have been performed in a bit of fog these last many months, but some days I feel as though I’m slowly emerging. Some days I don’t, and my confidence is compromised. The ups and downs of this sad journey we all experience. Peace to all and thank you for listening..

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