I'm in the middle of an annual ritual - spring cleaning. You would think that because I live alone I wouldn't have a lot things to get rid of. But as usual I find myself filling up garbage bags that either go to The Salvation Army or to the trash bin.
I'm now ready to go through Lane's stuff and even after 10 years of being a widow I still ask myself the question: What goes and what stays?
When Lane died I kept all of his things intact. Clothes in the closet, his desk full of papers and his "toys and knickknacks" right where he left them. I didn't want to touch anything, let alone give his stuff away. I was thinking that maybe his death was just a cruel joke or a misunderstanding. Therefore, he would be home any time now and need his stuff.
Then it happened. About 5 months after Lane died I woke up in the middle of the night with the realization that Lane was never coming home. So at 3:00 in the morning I got out of bed and even though it was August I began my spring cleaning. I worked like a demon going through his closet and chest of drawers packing up whatever I thought someone might be able to use. A day or two later I stared at an empty half of closet with the knowing that my life had changed forever.
I waited another few months and tackled his desk and computer. By this time the effort was less emotional and in a strange way fun. I got to see what he kept and how he organized his personal files. Notes from the kids and cards I had sent him through the years were all there. I didn't do a lot of purging that spring but I managed to get rid of the business related paperwork.
Now 10 years later, 2016, it is time to go back and rethink what I want to keep. There is not too much left because I've given a lot of things to the kids and grandchildren over the years. Mostly small keepsakes or pictures. But I still have things I am holding onto. Even after all of these years it is hard to let go, especially the personal items that for one reason or another I've kept.
So, wish me luck with my spring cleaning. And if you are going through a similar situation I say take your time. Spring comes every year. If you aren't sure if it should stay or if it should go, keep it. You'll know when it is time to let it (no matter what "it" is) go.
Oh ya, I still have Lane's ashes and they don't go until I do.