The strangest of her things have special meaning to me now. For the last half year or so of her life my wife couldn’t put on her own socks, so I always put them on for her. I can’t bear to throw those socks away. Same thing goes for her favorite t-shirts. It’s been about a year and a half, and that’s just how it is.
But I did something early on that did help me with other things. A few weeks after my wife passed away I went into our closet and looked at every bit of clothing in there. Anything I could remember her in stayed right where it was, but anything that did’t connect to a special memory got packed away for “safe keeping.”
I packed them up to donate them, but committed only to putting them into the box for a later determination. When I’ve spoken to others in my support group I’ve suggested they could look at it as safe keeping, or whatever made them feel okay enough to manage it.
I made a list of the things that went into each of my boxes. I didn’t get detailed, but just listed the number of shirts, pants, etc. I then taped the boxes up and moved them out of the closet. Over the following year, those boxes got moved around, finally to the garage, but never with the intention to donate them anytime soon.
For me, it took about 16 months, but I decided I was ready to donate those boxes of clothing to a local charity. Those boxes were taped shut for over a year, and I never felt a need to open them. It was still hard for me, but they did make it to the charity unopened.
I think the key take-away is that I don’t think I could have just taken them off the rack, put them in boxes, and donated them. But I could take them off the rack, but them in boxes, virtually forget them, and then later decide to donate the boxes of things I couldn’t clearly picture anyway.