Piece by Piece

Piece by piece!  is what I thought as I looked at my husband’s reloading desk, the last of “his” areas to be cleaned out. Everything else in Phil’s cave had been moved, sold, or given away over the past 31 months.  His desk was the heart of that cave. A corner so familiar and special to me, it shouted out his name whenever I came near. I can still see him sitting there bent over his work. He enjoyed making special loads for his long-range rifles. He would twirl his chair around and look at me over the top of his glasses when I would enter to speak to him. The tools he used for so many hours still lie there. But, yes, it was time to move on. 

We all have to come to the place in our hearts when we know it’s time to “take care of” our beloved’s possessions. I have done this little by little. I took my first big step when I had what I called “a man’s yard sale.” Unfortunately, I realized too late that I wasn’t ready to part with my husband’s “toys.”  As men came and made purchases or even tried to bargain for better prices, I regretted having the sale to part with Phil’s things so quickly.

I do feel that each widow should consider carefully removing her late husband’s belongings. If you don’t need to sell them to help pay bills, wait until you’re sure you’re ready. Just don’t rush into it.

I couldn’t part with my husband’s clothes for quite some time. I removed them from the closet after just a few months, but I kept them until it didn’t hurt so badly to see them or to move them out. Even then, I sometimes gave them to my daughters and asked them to do it for me. I still have Phil’s housecoat and a few special shirts, and I’ve found I can use some of his heavy outdoor items for myself. Little by little I do notice I no longer feel the need to keep some items that months ago were near and dear to me.

I’ve kept a small drawer with a few special things of Phil’s that I’ll always keep as a memory. I also have a little display box with some items that I treasure and my daughters or grandchildren may like to have someday.

Now after almost three years since Phil’s homegoing, I’m tackling this special corner of his, which was once his private spot. As I look at the almost empty desk, I feel like more of him has gone. But it’s time. He no longer needs the things of this earth, and I must move on also. As I work on clearing out the area, I still feel like he’s going away, as well, piece by piece.  However, he’s already been gone for 31 months.

Phil is no longer a part of this life, and I’ve just entered another stage of letting go. As I look at the handwritten notes he had attached to the file cabinet next to the desk, I start to remove them.

But then…suddenly, I realize, it’s not time yet.

It still needs to be done piece by piece.

Phil's den picture (1)

5 thoughts on “Piece by Piece

  1. How I understand this! Some things went quickly. There are others that remain……. Finally at 33 months I am understanding that it’s ok – when I am ready, I will know………

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    • You are so right. We have to let our inner feelings guide us. I used to feel like I should not still have certain things of his around, but we have to come to place where we realize it is OK. There is no right or wrong…

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  2. It wasn’t a husband but I lost both my parents 3 months apart, and I felt orphaned and empty. The emotions are different and my brothers and I gave away a lot of the stuff (and we kept what mattered to each of us) but it is the same process of letting go of loved ones, as we move from what was toward what is, It is now 41/2 years and there are times it still takes my breath away.

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    • Wendy, I am sorry to hear that you lost your parents and so close together. I lost my father first and my mother a few years later. However it still felt strange to not have them in my life anymore. Many describe it as you have, that they feel orphaned. Even though it has been several years for me as well, I often feel like I should pick up the phone and share something with them. Letting go certainly is a process. Thank you for you comment.

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