To put things gently, I have a tendency to keep things. A lot of things. At one point I said to my friend, "I'm worried that I may be one of those hoarders on tv." She told me that I had nothing to worry about because unlike them - I realize that things are messy and start to do something about it on my own. I can't decide if that's really comforting.
I ended up keeping a lot of things when Chris died. There were all the gifts I got him for Christmas. Then the gifts he got me. There were the ornaments to the Christmas tree. There were some movies that were sentimental. His mom sent half his pantry home with me. And there were about 8 bags of clothes.
Yes, clothes, ranging from button down shirts, t-shirts, socks, etc. At the time I was desperate for his scent. At the urging of my therapist, I actually took one of his shirts and sealed it in a plastic baggie in order to preserve that (it's not mentally healthy to do that if the person is alive though). By now the only thing that shirt smells like is that bag. And I think for the first year after he died, I was wearing something of his everyday.
So I'll bring you to yesterday. I decided to make bread. Important thing when making bread is that at a couple of points you let the bread sit and rise. To do this, you have to cover it up with some kind of cloth so that the bread can breathe but that it also doesn't catch a draught. Most recipes call for a dish cloth, but unfortunately mine were all in use. So what to do. It was then that I remembered that I have all these undershirts from Chris. They've been sitting clean in a drawer for almost a year now, and I figure that they will be ideal because undershirt fabric is designed for wearers skin to breathe but thick enough to keep other things out. So I grab a shirt and a knife and rip it at the seams. My main thought is - isn't this resourceful.
It of course worked like a charm (the actual bread recipe is another matter). So I'm telling my mom about my cleverness. To my surprise, my mom says, "That is really just so sweet. It's like a little bit of Chris was hugging your bread and keeping it warm." This is unexpected because in general my mom usually doesn't bring him up, especially in such a sentimental way. Usually its something that I mention.
I like my mom's thought. I like that my mom brought it up, but the thing that makes me happier is that it wasn't my first thought.
I'm finally at the point where I am ready for these things just to be my things, and not reminders of him. The things I want to keep are the things that I have great uses for - like his socks are excellent for wearing with boots because the prevent them from chafing my legs, and I love wearing some of his bigger t-shirts as pajamas. But I know that one day these socks will wear out and I will have to throw them away or that when I finally start dating again - I will probably have to get rid of many of these "other guy" clothes because it'll just be too weird to keep them. It's been a long time coming to this point, and at times I never thought I would get here, but its a relief to know that I have made it. Because I'm finally getting to the point where I am really ready to move on.