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The other night, I put away all of the funeral memorabilia I have had on display for the last 11 months.
I was putzing about the house and it occurred to me that there were areas of the house where I felt peaceful, relaxed....good.And other areas....not so much. In fact, there were some spots in the house where I felt overwhelming anxiety, hovering at the brink of panic....PTSD flaring up and threatening to consume me. Upon introspection, I realized that those peaceful areas were all where there was some happy memory of life with Rodney - a picture of him or of one of our vacations, a note from him, some knick knack we had selected together. And the stressful areas were all where the memorials from his funeral were displayed - the photo cover memorial book (I will hate this particular picture of him for the rest of my life, I think, now that we used it for the obituary and memorial book), the memorial cards, the ribbons from the floral spray on his casket.
I fought a moment of guilt at the thought of putting the funeral memorials away. But then I acquiesced. Because I really don't WANT to remember the funeral. I don't want to remember my darling husband in a casket, unmoving, not breathing. I don't WANT to remember my Rodney dead. I want to remember himALIVE,kissing my cheek at 15th Street Beach while Randy snapped the camera, holding my hand up in the air along with his after we'd been pronounced man and wife, hovering over Randy in the hospital with a broken arm, and crying almost as much as Randy.
It has really been troubling me for many months that I could not move his boots away from the door, where they've sat since the night before he died. I've interpreted it as meaning that I'm fighting acceptance, that I'm not progressing in my grief, that in the back of my mind I must in some small way still believe that he is coming back.
Now I realize that is not the case. As much as I hate it, I HAVE accepted that he is not coming back.
But those boots to me are one of the most powerful symbols of his life here with us. He wore them EVERY DAY, 7 days a week, working to build a life and a home for Randy and I, to take care of us, because that's the wonderful, dedicated father and husband that he was. He came home every night and sat on the couch while I cooked dinner, listening to how Randy's day was, helping Randy with homework or playing video games, letting the cat play with the laces for a while because he adored that damned cat. They remind me of how very much he loved life, how very alive he was.
I think it will be a long, long time...maybe forever...before I can think of moving the boots by the door.