Alternate title: Slowly erasing my husbands presence on Earth.
Like when I had his name removed from our bank account.
I thought about the irony. I had opened that bank account when I first moved to New York. I was a single gal but when we got married, I added Bryon to the account. We were a “one pot” kind of couple when it came to our finances. We argued about money a lot less that way. That account was our everyday account.
And now I am back to having the account to myself. With a different last name though.
There is a good chance I will hang onto this account forever.
Because I am oddly sentimental like that.
Like the fact that I have lived in the 518 area code for almost a decade and I still have my Maine 207 number. I have had my number since 2001. I graduated from college that year and had a large Nokia phone that I used to play snake on. It’s how we wasted time before Facebook.
Those were the days.
Anyway, after I left the bank the day I removed him from our bank account, I sat in my car and cried. Because it felt like his presence on Earth was being erased little by little. Sure, his name is still on the checks. The man at the bank told me it was okay to use them. But those will run out. It may take awhile because I pay most things electronically but it will eventually happen.
It is a cruel quandary of widowhood.
After a certain amount of time- time frame custom tailored for each widow- a widow realizes that she can’t keep living in the past.
She must move forward.
She knows she must do it.
But even thought she knows that she full-filled her wedding vows and that she deserves a chance to be happy again, it doesn’t make letting go of her deceased spouse any easier.
Yes, you might be groaning but I was a freshman in college when Titanic was in the theaters. It’s one of the few movies my broke self saw in the theater that year. (I already dated myself when I said I graduated from college in 2001 and played snake on a Nokia phone.)
And I am emotional right now, so we are just okay to go with it, okay?
Obviously I will never completely let go of Bryon. I couldn’t even if I tried. He is in my heart. But there comes a time that you realize you can’t hold on to every item he owned. Especially since he was a pack-rat.
Sure some items I will save for sentimental and utilitarian purposes and some will go live with friends for sentimental and utilitarian purposes.
But some items need to go because they serve no use.
Like Bryon’s clothes.
Shortly after Bryon died, I did clear out his side of the closet. Our Master closet is small and I needed the precious real estate. I bagged up about seven trash bags of clothes and put them in the garage where they sat for about a year before I brought them to Goodwill.
Apparently I put a bunch of his clothes in an upstairs closet and forgot about them.
So I got to relive the whole experience.
I saw the shirt he was wearing when he proposed to me.
Because as I held the shirt, for a brief couple of seconds, I felt like he was right there.
For a brief couple of seconds, I felt like I was still married.
And then…it was gone.
Back to reality.
And then for a brief couple of seconds, it was like the initial denial of his death came over me.
How did this happen? How is this my life? Why did he have to die?
I did put his button down shirts into a box to be saved to make a quilt for my daughter someday.
I do have Bryon’s hoodie sweatshirts. Yes, they are rather large on me but I live in a cold climate.
And some days I wear them because I know it’s the closest thing I am going to get to getting a hug from him.
And I still managed to fill nine trash bags.
Granted, some of it was old suits and gala dresses of mine from my political days.
I decided that was ten years ago and if I were to be that size again, I deserve new suits and dresses.
I mean, we are constantly evolving, right? New self, new dress.
(Though I hardly go to any events these days that require suits or gala dresses.)
I also bagged up some maternity clothes.
Widowed and 40…yeah…I am pretty sure that ship has sailed.
I saw his white suit jacket that he wore at the Young Republican National Convention Gala at the Indy Speedway in 2009. I remember him telling me that he liked it because he was dressed up but still looked different and made a statement.
I looked at his suit jackets and thought about the times I wore them as a coat when I got cold.
Now I better remember to bring a shawl in case I get cold.
There are couple of pieces I couldn’t part with.
The first was his seer sucker. He loved that.
The second item I couldn’t part with was his Albany Law School Rugby windbreaker.
The funny thing was, he rarely wore a winter coat. He either wore his ALS Rugby windbreaker or his green fleece. (He wore the green fleece to the hospital the last time so I donated it in the first round because I immediately associated it with the hospital).
For a man who rarely wore a winter coat, he sure had a lot of them. Even a few I didn’t recognize.
The third item I couldn’t part with was his navy 1950’s Dad cardigan.
He almost didn’t buy it. We were at DestinationXL and he saw it and liked it. I told him to get it but he was concerned that people would mistake him for being a hipster. I told him there was no way he could be mistaken for a hipster. Then he expressed hesitation because he didn’t know what to wear with it. So I ask the salesman on the floor and he and I have a 5 minute detailed discussion about options while Bryon looked a little dazed.
He loved the sweater. I wish I had a better picture but the only one I could find was from Thanksgiving.
And he is wearing a dirty apron. (Though the things is permanently stained. It’s hanging up. I need to toss it.)
And a turkey hat (which my daughter now loves and calls “Hey-Hey Chicken”).
And the fourth item I couldn’t part with was his Red Sox shirt.
As I put the clothes on the bed in the spare room, this little guy laid on them. I believe that animals are intelligent creatures and I think he sensed that they were his clothes. I don’t think there would be any scent but I have no idea about a cat’s sense of smell.
And then the final step to erasing my husbands presence on Earth…or my house at least was dropping the bags off.
I dropped them off at some drop boxes at a local church in my town. I prefer to drop them at a local church as opposed to Goodwill because the CEO at Goodwill makes a sh*it ton of money. I also prefer to drop off where there are bins because I am an introvert and prefer not to talk to people.
Especially when I might cry.
I have heard that clutter is stagnant energy. I have also heard that clutter is a form of depression. I just know that as difficult as this task was, it had to be done. I don’t think Bryon would want me to stay stuck in the past.
I just wish it didn’t hurt so much.
6 thoughts on “The cruel quandaries of widowhood”
I hated that part. Getting rid of Mike’s clothes. I had to do it 2 weeks after he died because I had to move and couldn’t keep all of them. It still breaks my heart. Hugs your way from a fellow introverted nothing drop box cryer
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I’m sorry I am just responding. I didn’t see your comment until now. I am so sorry that you had to go through all this so soon after your husband’s death. That must have been so hard. I can’t imagine. I am a little over two years out and it is still hard but I have had some time to process.
P.S. Introverts Rock
It’s ok. No worries! I saw your comment just now, haha. What about using his clothes to make a quilt or a pillow? It might be therapeutic
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I am saving his button down shirts for that very reason!
Clearing out my dad’s house a few years ago was dreadful, so I feel for you. Even junk takes on emotional significance when it belonged to a loved one no longer with us.
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I am so sorry on the loss of your father Cassie.
I hear you about the junk. I’ve been told to get a dumpster but even a piece of junk can have me break down and cry. I hope I will get through it all eventually.