So, I’ve had several binders of records on my “desk” that grew from one thin binder to two three-inch binders and several folders of various construction as we travelled along on what they called Kim’s “cancer journey.” (I hate that colloquialism; particularly when applied to pancreatic cancer. A journey toward what? A precipice?)
Today, I went into the attic, got a box, and put them in it. Page after page of information, research, meeting records, logs… Painful memories. There remains a bag from the funeral parlor containing the sympathy cards sent to us at and after the funeral, and, of course, the prayer cards, guest book, and remaining “thank you” cards from her funeral. The former simply wouldn’t fit in the box; the latter? I’m not sure what to do with them.
This is part of my grieving process, I guess. I promised myself that I wouldn’t make any changes to the house immediately, and I didn’t. As I go about my life after Kim, things that need to be dealt with come to the fore, and I’ve been dealing with them, one by one… These records. Her toiletries in our bathroom. Useful items still in her nightstand and other places that the kids can use…
Still other repositories of Kim’s stuff remain – and among them, there remains two veritable elephants: her clothes, and her craft supplies.
Long before she passed, but shortly after Kim received the diagnosis, she went through her closet and pulled out clothes that she knew she no longer needed or wanted. These remain in a rather tall box in our bedroom. I haven’t the heart yet to go through them. She also went through her craft room, organizing and cleaning. This struck me as odd because it was just like the “nest cleaning” she would perform a week or two before the imminent arrival of one of the kids back in the day. Maybe it’s the same? Maybe it was her “rebirth” into His kingdom she was preparing for? Or, maybe both were just a means to occupy the mind and body while waiting; dealing with the near-certainty of death. I don’t know.
And I don’t know why dealing with these things – this “stuff” – is so hard for me. She’s not coming back. She has no use for them. Few, if any, of her clothes would fit any of our daughters. Some of it goes all the way back to when we were dating.
And the piles and piles of cloth and other crafting supplies – who will use them? I don’t think I will – though I will maintain her equipment, frankly, I don’t know when I’d have the time to learn how her embroidery machine works – or, for that matter, any of the other equipment she would use regularly. Maybe the girls might.
I’m not alone, facing this Matterhorn. I know that widows and widowers throughout history have faced the same. That knowledge gives neither confidence nor purpose for the task. The knowledge also gives no solace.
So, I’ll make a label for that box of records, and I’ll put it on a shelf in the basement. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’ll know why a few years down the road, but it seems like the thing to do rather than discarding them. And then it will be on to the next after-Kim task that suddenly commands my attention with inexorable compulsion.