Surviving Spouse Provisional Center
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Surviving Spouse Provisional Center

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Clearing Out Their Things

Posted on September 20, 2018 at 1:35 PM

I found in my experience that one of the most difficult tasks that I had to undertake after my husband Larry's passing, was clearing out his things. There was a memory attatched to almost every article of his clothing, and other possesions that were his. There was the Christmas sweater that he wore to the annual Christmas party; the neckties he wore on Sunday's; his favorite hats that he wore for everyday outings; the stylish brim that he wore when we were going out to dinner; his robe that he slipped into when he wanted to feel comfortable and lounge around the house; his after shaving lotion; his Irish Spring soap—so many memories. So many things that belonged to him! How could I possibly get rid of them?


It's a task that no widow(er) wants to accomplish—but you know that it has to be done. When it happens is different for everyone. Some widows and widowers wait months—even longer--before they can bring themselves to follow through with it. In my case, everywhere I looked, I saw my husband. Whenever I went into the closet we shared, or opened the dresser drawers, I was reminded that the life I shared with him for 40 years, had ended. After he had been gone for about a month, I was able to gather his things together. My daughter offered to help me, but it was a task that I felt I had to accomplish alone. I was also propelled to do so once I found that an organization in the Appalachian Mountains had a great need for men's clothing, and was very happy to get them. I felt a peace about it, because my husband was a giving person, so I knew he would have wanted someone in need to have his things.


His more personal possessions, like his cufflinks, his pocket watch, his favorite calogne, his wallet—were given to my children, grandchildren, and close friends at Christmas. Everyone was touched and thrilled to get an unexpected gift that belonged to him, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. As for me, I purchased a curio cabinet, and built a memorial for him. In the case I put the urn with his ashes, his bible, his eye glasses, his watch, and his stylish brim. Those are displayed tastefully in my living room, in the corner curio cabniet. Seeing it there brings me great comfort.


I shared with you what I did, but like I said, it's different with everyone, and it may be different with you. If it is, it's okay. Let your heart tell you when it's time to let go. Just remember, you're not letting your loved one go—just their things.

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