I did not write a post in August. I was struggling with my own grief. This is my house. The house Mike lived and died in. I was left with a decision to keep, rent, or sell it. My younger son lived there when he graduated from college for 3 1/2 years, but needed to move to be closer to his work.
I wasn’t prepared to deal with the reality of having to sort through my sons’ belongings that I had haphazardly shoved in bins, boxes, and totes. I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotions and feelings that would bring up. Could I sell the house? Would I be loosing more of him? I spent every weekend sorting, cleaning, moving stuff from one home to another. Taking donations of things I no longer wanted or could use to donation sites around the city. I threw out some things no one wanted. I sold a few items and donated some to people I knew could use them.
It felt good to help others. It felt horrible to sort through Mike’s things and know he’d never use them again. I saved some things that normally I’d have put in a box and given to him to clutter up his house. The decisions to keep or not to keep were tough. In the end I wasn’t ready yet to throw away the kindergarten scrap book his kindergarten teacher made for him, or the 100 drawings and craft project he brought home from school and day care. The report cards and his high school homecoming king sash and prom moments. These are the things you are supposed to box up and give to your kids when they have their first home or baby.
The reality is no one will ever look at them again. I gave away his Hershey Bears Hockey Puck hat he wore to hockey games, I gave way the engraved beer stein he had from a wedding or birthday, or something. I couldn’t bring myself to throw away a single photo even though I have 10 copies of the same one. If the goal is to make it easier on my other son when I am gone I should throw them out. But in reality it is too hard on my fragile heart,. So for now they are in a bin in the garage waiting for the day I am strong enough or the day Mark has to decide what to do with them.
I will be honest I didn’t take as good of care of myself as I should have. I filled the empty feeling with pizza and chinese, and Royal Farms chicken and a glass or two of wine. So one day as I was depressed and crying I got coaching with my life coach who told me it was ok to be sad. I didn’t have to change any of that. She told me to just sit with the sadness and feel all of it. I did. I sat. I listened to my body and quit trying to quiet that inner voice with food and/or wine. Before long I realized that I was sad, and times were tough, but I’ve done tough before. I began to treat my body better. I made better choices than to numb with food and alcohol. I decided to choose to think it was ok to sell the house and the right family would come along at the right time and make it theirs.
So, as tough times come up, the first birthday, anniversary Christmas, special days. etc. It is ok to be sad. Feel all of your feelings then choose how you want to think to get through the days. Choose to treat yourself with love and care and tenderness. You can get through tough times. Call your friends and family when you need help. I texted my family and said “I can’t do this alone,” and they were there helping me sort, making me laugh at memories and photos we found. And encouraging me and letting me know it was ok to throw out the tattered up beach towel that isn’t useable anymore.
Thee will be a time when you are ready to sort through the clothing and let it go. Give yourself grace and time to get there.