Author Topic: Well, my "summer" has started...  (Read 1025 times)


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Well, my "summer" has started...
« on: May 20, 2016, 04:10:31 PM »
...and it isn't like the last two summers.  I spent the last 2 summers on the road, putting tens of thousands of miles on my car, visiting people and places that meant something to me.  I couldn't face staying at home alone, without school and people at the university to distract me from my pain.  There were a lot of good times in those last two summers, with sadness and anxiety mixed in.  My method of coping worked for me, though.  I made it through those summer months, thanks to the people that took the time to have some really good conversations about the important things in life...and the fresh air and beautiful vistas and sometimes, just the open pavement ahead of me.

But this summer will be different.  I'm staying home, well, except for a 10 day trip over the 4th of July.  I am here in my house, just me and my dog.  I have to complete at least 160 hours in a practicum for my master's degree program, and I'm doing that right here...within the overly quiet walls of the university where my husband taught and where I've been studying for the last several years.  I have just one more semester left in my program.  Come December, I'm going to need to be making some changes.

So...the time has come to face my house and John's stuff.  I need to go through the things that meant so much to him that he saved them or used them over his lifetime.  It is a fair amount of stuff.  I've already started sifting through papers.  He saved every map, brochure, ticket, hotel room key....from all the places he visited.  He saved cards and notes and scraps of paper with lists of things I can't even decipher.  He was a very sentimental man, and I doubt that many people knew that about him. 

Today, I started letting go of bigger things.  One of my fellow Master's students is moving from a furnished apartment on campus to an unfurnished apartment.  Today, I gave her a queen size sofa bed and a recliner that I had from my first marriage that was in excellent condition, and I gave her a large-screen TV and TV stand that was John's.  They have been sitting in the finished basement...John's lair...and unused since he died.  I'm going to use the freed-up space to sift through more of John's things...and his late wife's things, too.  The last week of June, John's brother will be here from Alaska, and I'm going to give him some things that belonged to his brother.  In the mean time, I need to go through everything I can so that he won't go sifting through things himself.  He isn't one to understand boundaries.  I need to be ready for him.  I've told myself I just need to work on this task for 30 minutes a day.  I think I have had my fill for today.  I can tell because my chest is tight and I need to settle my anxiety.  Sigh.  I can do this.  I need to do this so I can live my new life and start my new career early next year. 

I need to breathe.

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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Re: Well, my "summer" has started...
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2016, 04:29:31 PM »
Maureen, for me 30 minutes a day is too big of a commitment. When I am focused on sifting through the crazy amount of stuff Joe left behind I have to give myself days off or between doing it because the task is just so damn exhausting. You of course know your limits better than I ever could, but I felt I would be remiss if I didn't say maybe some consideration of that commitment could be warranted.

Either way, wishing you well this summer. As always, you've got this and all of us are here for you along the way.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good. - Unknown

Don't be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous. - Hazrat Inayat Khan

Joe: 1979- 7/2014


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Re: Well, my "summer" has started...
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2016, 05:34:14 PM »
Smart idea to go through it first.. it might be really hard to see him sifting through your husbands things.

When my husband passed my kids kinda went nuts darting for all his things.. it's a strange behavior that I see grown adults ruin relationships, fighting over their passed loved ones things.. must be primitive behavior. I just put everything on lock down and haven't touched it since.. gave them each a little something.. made one of his shirts into a pillow case for my daughter.. my sons got a couple of his knives (he was obsessed with them).

I'm not looking forward to really going through his stuff.. far from ready.. his coats still hang by my back door.

Best of luck going through all your husbands things.. I hope each day gets a little easier.. maybe you will find yourself working on it longer then you expected to because you were on a roll.


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Re: Well, my "summer" has started...
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2016, 06:34:04 PM »
Stuff . . . I've still got a lot to go through. It's hard. One thing that has helped me about the things I've given away was the thought that the items would go on to a new and useful life, and make someone else happy. A woman whose son took a few of my husband's clothes was just thrilled; she told me that he was starting his first job after university and needed a more professional wardrobe, but he didn't have much money to spend. The clothes were just what he needed and were exactly his size (!). I still feel good when I think of that.

Papers are another thing altogether, as well as things that were of sentimental value. Maybe keep a few things and dispose of the rest? Or take photos of things and then dispose of them? In the end, I guess it's not "things" but our memories/recognition of someone's kindness, generosity, love, etc., that are our best keepsakes. And those don't take up space or pile up in the basement . . .

I like Jess's idea of not even having to do 30 minutes. I'm going to remember that next time!


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Re: Well, my "summer" has started...
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2016, 04:31:59 AM »
I only want to weight in here to say,I feel your anxiety & pain aswell.
  Recently I've been doing the same,going threw the "lil things",lots of memories good & bad,it's very hard to distinguish between the two simply because I'm a couple weeks from the 2 years Mark from loosing DW..
   I send you positive vibes & prayer,it's difficult for me ,I hope it gets easier as time goes on.

I made a pretty big mistake,by over doing things & putting myself emotionally in a bad place,please put limits on yourself this is a process ~ToRn
There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.

Oscar Levant


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Re: Well, my "summer" has started...
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2016, 08:26:40 AM »
I hear you , this is such a hard thing to get your head into
I am only able to do this is small spurts and when I feel overwhelmed i walk away
I agree that it feels a little better when you know your husbands things are going to someone who needs and wants them
I hope this process goes as well as it can for you
and like you said remember to breathe and ask for help when you need it
take Care
My everything


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Re: Well, my "summer" has started...
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2016, 08:33:25 AM »
It's such a difficult process, be gentle with yourself as you go through it.  Sending you hugs and support from afar.
You will forever be my always.