My mom asked me last weekend if anything in the hallway was good or if we could start getting rid of it. I said it is all good. Truth is that stuff is my great grandmothers’ things we boxed when we moved into the apartment. Things we thought should be kept. I should go through them again it has been eight years I have no clue what is in there anymore.
When it comes to Matt’s things, I just can’t seem to get rid of them. I am not ready yet. Our old bedroom is filled with his stuff, and I can step in there but not go through it. Earlier this year I had memory bears made from his clothes. Mine is the shirt he used to wear on our dates and a shirt I bought him when we were dating. The bear lives on the top of my bed. Our rings hang from its neck. His hat that he could never find but I did and I placed it next to the bear.
We were big book people, and I will not part with his books. I was reading the series also who knows if I will ever finish reading it, but I can’t part with them. I can envision the bookcases that will be in my house. The memory bear will live on the bookshelf in that home.
There are still plenty of other articles of his clothing that I need to figure out. I used to sleep with his one sweatshirt I have stopped doing that. But what do I do with it I can’t just throw it out? Over the summer I was talking to my friend’s dad that lost his wife two years ago and he said he still can’t bring himself to get rid of her things.
If I was going to remain in this house for a long time I would never part with the stuff. But I am going to move someday and most likely in the next year and will have to sort through it and address it. I can’t have a tomb of his stuff. My mom had a point of doing it now because when my grandmother dies, I will have to pack up this house. At that time, I will be grieving a new loss and will not only have to pack up my things but both of theirs.
I hold on tight because last year I told my dad that it was okay to throw out his workboots. At the time I thought I was ready his things did not keep him here. My dad moved them from the kitchen to the porch where I saw them every day for a month. Then one day they were gone and my heart felt like someone took him away from me again. After that, I have held on to his things not wanting to say I am ready unless I am sure.
Last week that question came out of nowhere for me. I know it came from a place of love but the days before a holiday are hard. That simple question left me in a tailspin. I ended up listening to It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay this week. Sometimes I need that little reminder that it is okay that I am still grieving. That what I am feeling is normal.
Early in the book, she mentions that after six months grieving is considered a disorder referred to as complicated grief. And that psychological intervention is recommended if you still long for the person or believe life will never be the same. I laughed as I heard these words. I first listened to this book this time last year. At that moment I probably didn’t hear what she was saying because a year later I was going to be okay.
I guess the joke is on me because a year and eight weeks have passed, and I am still not okay. I still long for him. In fact, I took a nap earlier and woke because standing in front of me in my dream was Matt. I think I was hoping to find him there when I woke but I didn’t. Part of me still has that hope that someday I will wake up and find that this last year was a dream and if I part with his things then he won’t have them.
Instead of facing my demon head-on and going through his things, I avoid it. If I don’t do it then it can’t hurt me. Not dreaming of him is something that I have no control over it is at the most random times that I do dream of him. It has been a hard week for my grief so maybe my mind thought it would comfort me. Unfortunately, that did not work.
One of the biggest problems I run into with my grief is thinking that I can avoid it. If I don’t feel the feelings, they don’t exist. Changing the pictures in a picture frame to some is nothing but to me I avoid it to remove him from it is admitting he is really gone to myself. Deleting his number from my phone would save so many times of seeing his name and the heartache it causes but I avoid that because it will cause a deeper pain and you can’t reverse that.
Avoiding grief only works until it doesn’t, and it sneaks up on you and hits you over the head. It makes you face it. Someday I will have to face going through his things but for now, to save myself I am going to continue to avoid it for as long as I can. His things are a reminder that he was real. We were real. Our love was real.