Monday, January 3, 2011

Out with the old...

Well it is that time again. Time to take down the lights and the silly blinking figurines outside, put away all the Christmas trinkets and decorations, delicately put away all the ornaments and take down the tree. For most people this is a chance for a fresh start and with the New Year at hand they look at all the possibilities the year may bring.

For a widow, at least for this widow, taking down the decorations can be just as sad as putting them up. To top it all off, I also always take this time to clean out the closets and get rid of the old that is never used anymore.

As I took down the ornaments I came across an ornament that was given to me and my late husband shortly after we married and on it was written "The Stiles". Then another ornament that said "Always Remembered". I remember when I hung ornaments on my tree when I was younger all the ornaments, well most, had a story and they were all told with a smile. So many great memories of the past years and Christmases. Even though I do have wonderful memories of the few years we were married and the Christmases we had, it saddened me a little and made me miss him.

As I started something I always do after taking down and putting away Christmas, I started to go back to a few months after my husband passed away. See I was getting rid of all the toys my son doesn't play with anymore to make room for his new toys. For some reason this took me to when I first started to have to get rid of Brian's things.

I was moving out of our house. I knew I couldn't pack it all by myself so I called in reinforcements. My orders were to pack everything, I refused to get rid of anything. However, as I stood in our closet my mom asked what I was doing with his clothes. "I'm taking them", I said. Then she gave me the look. The look I am sure every widow has seen from another loved one. The look that says...I am so sorry, are you sure sweetie, and maybe it is time to let go a little...all rolled up in one. "I'm taking them, and they are going to my closet at the new house." I demanded, as I fought back tears. Then she came to his sock and underwear drawer..."I can get rid of these, right?" Then I just fell to the ground and started to cry. If I got rid of his things then that meant he was REALLY never coming back. He was never going to complain about not having any clean socks to wear, he was never going to come home smelling sour and sweaty after a soccer game, he was never going to complain that the clothes we folded but not put away, he was never....never again. I couldn't bear it.

Even now I am brought to tears thinking of it. I know to some people getting rid of old socks is a no-brainer...but when those socks are a reminder of what you had, it makes your heart feel as if it is tearing to shreds inside.

So I guess, I am thinking of all of my widowed friends out there. Are they doing some cleaning of the closets after taking down Christmas? Are they crying on the floor not wanting to let go and feeling like their spouse died all of again?

Sometimes "out with the old, and in with the new" is a harder concept to wrap your heart around when you are a widow.