New topic! This past week I had an impromptu closet cleaning session. I cleaned out the walk-in closet in our upstairs master bedroom. Before the accident, this used to be “our” room. Now I guess it is my room. My husband has all of this clothes and everything he wants downstairs in his bedroom. I sleep down there nearly every night in what I refer to as my “on call” bed, but all my stuff is still upstairs. Anyway, here is the problem. All of his old clothes and other junk are still occupying space in my closet because I just can’t or don’t get rid of it. He doesn’t even know it is still up there. For nearly eight years now, stuff that he can never again use or wear is still there. Stuff like his golf shoes and clothes, “tight jeans”, suits, ties and shirts that just don’t work with a trach. He doesn’t want or need this stuff. Wonder what I’m thinking…that he will wake up some morning and say “Hey bring me down my old golf shoes, I think I’ll wear them today.” Or am I thinking that maybe someday he really might need them. I’m not consciously thinking any of that, just holding on to this stuff for some unknown reason. I easily gathered 2 huge bags of my stuff to donate but didn’t toss anything of his.
I didn’t really have this problem when my first husband died. His death seemed to have a finality about it. I was able to clean out our closet and donate his things a week after the funeral. I knew he would never need his stuff, so I was able to get rid of it. It almost feels like we have some innate ability at some level to deal with or understand the finality of death. Disability doesn’t feel that same way, at least not to me. Although I was only 27 at the time of his death and didn’t have much practical experience, at least I got my closet cleaned out. Many people find this hard to believe, but I think it was easier to cope with a husband’s death vs. coping with a husband’s C3-C4 SCI. I wasn’t prepared for either, but death seemed easier. I hate to say the word easy because none of it is easy, but hopefully you understand what I mean.
Anyway, here’s the question: Is anyone else holding on to stuff they know they will never again be able to use? Why, and do you think you will ever be able to get rid of it?
As I say each year, spring cleaning will come around again next year. Maybe next year will be the year.
Glad I’m not alone. Thanks for your comments. It just seems strange that I can’t get rid of HIS stuff. The funny thing is I did ask him. First, he didn’t even realize most of his stuff was still upstairs. Then he said “why don’t you just get rid of it.”
Hummm…good question. It’s his stuff, but I’m actually the one having the issue. Maybe it just feels comfortable still having it in the closet. I wish it felt uncomfortable then I would get rid of it and fill the empty space with new stuff for me. It’s always something, isn’t it?
FYI, you never annoy me; I guess you’ll have to try a lot harder if that is your goal. However your comments did move me to action a little quicker than I had anticipated. The answer to your question is I’m not really saving the stuff for any good reason at all. I think the problem is really much like your golf course story. One day my husband and I got out of OUR bed together, got ready and dressed from the clothes in OUR master closet, and left for a vacation together. In a mere matter of hours, life was forever changed. That morning ritual would never happen again. Now it’s just my bedroom, and that’s a lonely feeling. There is always just that slight feeling of agony each time I walk in there alone knowing he will never be able to come up to our old room again. Unlike a golf course, I can’t avoid my bedroom. I don’t claim to know what the loss from your side of the wheelchair feels like, but I often feel some agony on my side too.
No you don’t have to get rid of your stuff just because I stumbled across getting rid of mine. Actually this whole closet cleaning thing started for a different reason entirely. But now after nearly 8 years, I’m happy that it’s done.
I have this very dear friend at work that has a way to explain things like this. Typically he reserves this expression to explain a random, seemingly successful performance by a person we have otherwise labeled as incompetent in their job. When something startling like this happens, he always says “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.” I’m sure he would just label me as a blind squirrel on this occasion.
The process of getting to know myself better feels a lot like trying to find a tiny diamond in a mountain of rocks. Sometimes I only see the rocks. It’s often easy to give up looking for the diamond because it’s just so hard to find.
Just in case anyone doubted that spring has actually arrived in Indiana, here is my proof: the first spring daffodil from my backyard. At least the beauty of spring is easy to find.