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.