It’s interesting how important things become after someone dies. I look around at all the things that belong to me, and don’t feel that they are all that special or important. They are just things. But when someone dies, the things they leave behind become the things that prove they existed. They become more valuable.

The first things that I had to decide what to do with were the clothes Greg was wearing at his death. They came to me from the ER, cut up. His shirt had been cut off of him, and his pants had been cut up the legs. His garments had burn marks from the AED defibrillator that was used when performing CPR. I threw them all away without much thought. I didn’t want to think of the trauma Greg had gone through. Now, part of me wishes I hadn’t thrown them away, but in the end, I think it was a healthy choice. 

I left Greg’s things alone for a while. I didn’t do anything with them. It took about a month before I started to feel smothered by them. I started to think about how it would feel to have more space in my bathroom and closet. At the same time, I was afraid of how it would feel to open the closet and not see Greg’s clothes and shoes. I also felt guilty for not wanting his things around me. It felt like choosing not to be surrounded by Greg’s things meant I didn’t love and care for him. It took me some time to get past these thoughts and realize that keeping Greg’s things around me did not prove anything about my love for him.

After thinking about it for a couple weeks, I decided to move Greg’s things out of my bedroom and bathroom. I didn’t want to get rid of anything. Eventually, I will have some mementos made out of his clothes and let the kids and close relatives go through his things. But for now, they will stay in storage. 

Greg’s clothes in our closet

 I took some pictures of the closet, just in case I missed seeing his clothes there. Then, I got some storage containers and carefully folded his clothes and placed them inside. It took me a few weeks to go through his things because it was so emotionally exhausting. It is amazing the memories that are attached to things, and I wanted to remember and be present as I folded his clothes and put his things in storage containers. 

I took his glasses out of the case one last time as I remembered him wearing them every night for so many years. There was still an eyelash on them, and that brought me to tears. I was devastated when the eyelash fell off of the glasses, and I couldn’t find it again. It was the last part of him that wasn’t buried in the earth. 

My Bedroom

With only my things in my room (with the exception of just a few of Greg’s things), I started to think about what my room might be like if I decorated it however I wanted. Greg always cared about how our house and bedroom was decorated, and he would never go for some of the things I wanted to do. Our room was also covered with pictures of us, and it wasn’t helpful to me to look at them all the time. It started to sound fun to redecorate my room. I decided to make ‘our’ room my own. It is now a space I love that feels like my own. I know Greg would be supportive of me making it mine, even though he would probably not be thrilled about some of my decorating choices. 

I’m not sure what Greg’s things will mean to us when we open the storage containers again. I imagine they will still hold sentimental value and bring back special memories. They are more than just things to us.

One Reply to “Things”

  1. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been to go through his things, and having so many memories flood over you as you put each item of clothing away. And the eyelash…:(
    What you’ve done with your bedroom is FANTASTIC. You have made it your own, your place of peace and comfort. And it LOOKS so peaceful. those colors are beautiful. Love you!

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