His clothes still hang in our closet. His dresser is full.
After Mike’s death in May 2015, stepping into our closet felt like a sucker punch. I have packed away some of his clothes, but I haven’t donated a single thread yet.
This is a hard step. And I am not ready.
We all grieve differently. Some spouses, like me, struggle with this step.
While other spouses clean out closets before the funeral. At least that’s what I’ve heard. Or possibly I’m having a flash back to one of the umpteen Dateline NBC episodes I’ve powered through.
Tip: If the spouse ditches their dead one’s clothes in the first few days after kick off, they are the murderer. This knowledge will save you watching the remaining 45 minutes. Or, don’t even bother watching Dateline; it’s practically always the spouse. You’re welcome.
OK, back on point. I am still grappling with Mike’s daily absence in our lives.
Obviously I know intellectually that he’s never coming home. And obviously he doesn’t need his 50+ pairs of socks (not kidding here). And, no surprise, he doesn’t have use for his jeans, suits, sweaters and T-shirts. (But I’m keeping the undies for pelvic hugs. Click here for further details.)
While sorting through our closet recently, our son told me not to get rid of Daddy’s stuff. So clearly he’s not ready either.
I continued foraging through Mike’s stuff. I don’t know why but it felt necessary.
And then — at the bottom of his laundry hamper — I found a pair of jeans. The last pair he ever wore. The belt was still looped around the waist. Inside the pockets I discovered crumpled Kleenex and loose change.
And I wept. It felt like I discovered a time capsule. We had reversed the clock. We had captured Mike’s last acts. He was just a normal guy stuffing snotty tissues back into his pockets.
As bizarre or gross it seems, I covet those tissues.
It’s him. His nose always ran because chemo took all his hair, even nose hair. When he was alive, I teased him about his handfuls of Kleenex in every pocket.
And here were more tissues stuffed in pockets, like he was just here yesterday.
And so they remain in his pockets.