Today I decided I had the emotional stamina to clean our bedroom.
There were piles of boxes and bags I brought home from Hospice the day you passed away, along with items I used for the memorial service.
They have been sitting there, untouched, since the day I placed them there.
I was doing okay. Deciding what to keep and where to store all the things that reminded me of you.
And when I came across your neck pillow, the one we used to help you hold your head up when you couldn’t do it yourself, I dissolved into a puddle on the floor.
It wasn’t the pillow, really.
It was your smell.
It filled the room when I pulled it out of the box.
I think I sat there for a good fifteen minutes, crying and sniffing the pillow.
I hate to say it, but I have almost forgotten what you smelled like.
It was a nice little reminder I was given – even though it shocked & delighted me at the same time.
The girls asked me what I was doing, as the cleaning project took a good part of my afternoon.
I showed them the pillow and told them it smelled like you – and they both wanted to take a whiff, too.
We all just sat there, Indian-style, on the bedroom floor and took turns passing the pillow around.
Then I put it in a ziploc bag and stored it in the top of the closet.
I put a lot of stuff in the top if the closet; clothes, shoes, hats – more things than I thought I would want to keep.
I went through your toiletries from Hospice and had to throw most of it away.
After all, I don’t think I’ll want to use man-scented bodywash or shampoo.
I did save a small bottle though, because it reminded me of the way you smelled right after a shower, which was one of my favorite things.
I took some links out of your watch – the one I saved money for six months to buy you for Christmas the first year we were engaged, 2000.
I plan to wear it. You would have wanted someone to wear it – not to collect dust in a box on top of the closet.
There is an ornament on the tree that refuses to stay put.
It keeps falling, even when no one is in the room.
I hear a loud thud at least once a day – and it’s always the same one, no matter where I move it.
Your favorite pewter NC State Alumni ornament.
I almost didn’t put the alumni collection on the tree this year; but I did.
And I’m thankful to pick it up each time it falls.
I went to church this morning.
I hadn’t been in over five months because I was always with you.
I wasn’t sure, before now, that I was able to handle it – emotionally.
But it was good. I was good. I had a pack of tissues just in case – and I was shocked that I never had to reach for one.
We sang my favorite songs and so many people seemed genuinely happy to see our family, even though they expressed how sorry they were that you were gone.
It was good to go.
I have missed it.
Cailyn has had a hard day today.
She woke up in a funky mood, which you know is quite normal for her.
Not a morning person, much like me.
I was getting her dressed for church and needed to unravel the tangles in her hair.
The best brush for doing that is yours.
She saw it and fell to pieces.
And she cried for a good part of the morning, telling me how much she missed you and wished you were here with us.
She has been very clingy today, which I understand.
All I can do is hold her, tell her how much I love her, express how much I miss you too and promise her that she will see you again one day.
I don’t know how much that helps. But it’s the only thing I can physically do to mend her little broken heart.
Carys had a great day; we talked about you a few times.
She is so excited about her birthday coming and told me that she knew it would be great day because you’ll be here for her party as an angel.
We made chocolate chip cookies last night and she insisted that we set one aside for you.
So, we did.
Now that the phone calls, cards and emails are slowing down, it’s getting more difficult to pass my time.
I find myself doing anything and everything, just to stay busy and keep my mind focused on moving forward.
I knew it would be this way; that the newness of your death would lessen a bit eventually and things would be quiet.
I don’t necessarily mind the quiet. But it gives me too much time to think.
Especially about the future.
And the past.
And the present.
I do my best to put on a happy face and smile through all of this.
After all, I do still have so much to be thankful for.
This morning at church, the pastor said something that really hit home to me. Personally.
He was talking about how much sadness and heartache can come to us; to ‘good’ people.
And how some people can’t grasp that – how can such a loving God allow his children to face such pain?
Just imagine what it would be like if we didn’t believe, if we didn’t have hope in something Greater – how much pain there would be! For everyone. Everywhere.
We all have to go through trials, and I’m sure that losing you is my greatest.
But how much harder would this be for me, for our girls, if we didn’t honestly believe that you are in a better place and that we will see you again?
How much more difficult would this be if I didn’t have God’s grace to carry me?
I can’t imagine.
I sent out some Christmas cards this week – and it took me a while to find the right scripture to use.
When I stumbled across this one, it felt right.
I think you would like it, too.
May the God of hope fill you
with all joy and peace in
believing, so that by the power
of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
— Romans 15:13