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I am hoping to sell my house and move this spring/summer. That means finally tackling all the boxes of stuff throughout the house. DH was a bit of a hoarder so I've spent the past few days packing up his old medical books (that were probably out of date when he was alive, let along 5.5 years later), going through old cassette tapes (yes, cassette tapes!), photos, books, DDs old toys and school papers from kindergarten and the early school years.

This walk down memory lane has been so mixed. Some things feel really good to just get rid of. But the cassettes were harder - found some of his old mix tapes (god, am I really that old??) and his Santana, Crowded House, Bruce Cockburn. So many thoughts just running around in my head.

The photos are harder still. We both look so young in them. Photos of us with our first apartment, our first puppy together, our first house that we bought, our first ski trip. Photos of us camping, hiking, canoeing and kayaking. All the things we loved to do. So many smiles and memories that come flooding back in. Of course my mom is in there, my dad too. Sometimes I feel like I've lived a thousand lifetimes with the number of people I've lost.

But the hardest thing of all were the travel books. Isn't that weird? So many places we dreamed of going - Nepal, Norway, China, Barbados, New Zealand. Some we made it to, others we didn't.

But the lost dreams were pretty much summed up in those travel books.

Good to see you on here! 

--- Quote ---But the lost dreams were pretty much summed up in those travel books
--- End quote ---

I just passed 6 yrs. LH's birthday was Friday.  So much.  I think it is why it takes so long to let things go.  The memories!  I think you nailed it.

I think I avoided it so much.  A purge here and then 6 months later and then a year later.  All my wounded heart could tolerate.  And now my son and I are in a new house. Still purging.  Still hard to decide what to keep and let go.  Maybe my son will want it, maybe not?  And the emotions going through it. 

Thanks for sharing.  Get it.

I hear you about the purging, hikermom. I've already moved once, and didn't get half the purging done that needed doing beforehand. That added unnecessary expense to the move, in addition to more stuff in boxes I don't have room for here. I'm contemplating another move, and find now I'm in a better frame of mind for it. 

LH wasn't into keeping alot of stuff around that wasn't practical. There're various tools around, for example, but I'm keeping those. (Truth is I'm more handy in a number of ways than he was, and probably used them more anyway.) His old school turntable and stereo stuff- keeping that. I've been weeding through old books- textbooks, going. Novels, keeping at least for now. Still, everything I do purge, like his golf clubs or dvds he liked that I don't watch, is like another stab wound to the heart reminding me he's never coming back, and that there is no more *we,* it's now only *me.*

Old paperwork records and kids' stuff are additional mental/emotional obstacles, plus stuff I'm still going through from his late mother, and my own mother and late father's stuff from when they downsized. Things like dishes and furniture from them is gradually being dispersed as my kids set up their own apartments. But old baby stuff and school stuff- that's tough. My plan is to whittle it down to one smallish box of childhood momentos per child. But reliving all the memories in the process- it's tough! 

Somewhere, I know there's still a case of his cassettes hiding, too!

I started purging last summer in preparation for a move next year. The easy stuff. Filled a dumpster with scrap lumber, old furniture, every single box from every single thing we ever purchased. (Not sure why we had to save all that stuff anyway.) I actually threw the lumber away twice, once when she was alive, she explained that it was useful and pulled it out of the dumpster and once after she had passed. I looked up, metaphorically, and explained to her that yes I was right this lumber is not worth saving.

Now comes the harder stuff to purge. She kept a shoebox for every year of her life since middle school. Each one labeled and filled with memories, photos, menus, ticket stubs etc. All of it is priceless and valueless at the same time. The boxes take up a closet worth of space. And in them are memories of our times together and our sons lives. I am both looking forward to sorting through them and dreading it but someday it will need to be done. If only to set aside the things worth saving for the boys and the things that have no value to anyone but her. I have no desire to read the letters from her high school sweetheart and at the same time it feels wrong to just throw them in a dumpster. Wedding dress, pressed flowers, ticket stubs to our first concert. Sometime this summer I will invite her best friend, or my sister, or someone over just to sit with me as I start the process. But it is going to be a sunny day, with the window open and a breeze blowing in brining the smell of green leaves and flowers before I even think about going through all of that.


It has taken me a little while to respond to your post; it hits so close to home.  I have purged two houses now, one for each husband.  The second was harder.  John kept so many mementos, and being a geographer, he had a full file drawer of maps from everywhere imaginable.  We also traveled a lot and had dreams for so much more travel to come.

It is hard letting go of our dreams, isn't it?

I have come to the conclusion, though, that it is hard to have a future if I stay in the past.  I hold onto some of those memories, but I had to let some things go.  The process is hard, but I don't really miss the things that were all stored to begin with.  My life has become more simplified, and I think that is a good thing, too.




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