Clearing out the house, continued....


I am in the process of selling two flats where Tom and I shared our lives, while clearing out the rental house where I am based just now - again a place we shared. You get the picture -a mammoth effort of admin, of planning, of logistics, of trips to charity shops. Another planned this afternoon.

The garage in the flat I am selling locally is currently awaiting clearance - loads of old tools, steps, garden equipment no longer needed - so I am using the opportunity to take a few bits and pieces of similar stuff from here.

I am using Tom’s huge Land Rover Discovery to get this done and tomorrow I am going to check out a new car as this old one has circumnavigated the world in terms of mileage and is gasping away.

So - it is a kind of repressed grief day. Trying not to think about it too much, that the flat will be sold, the garage cleared, the London flat gone and the car - and I will be moving on to a new home alone- all in the next 8/10 weeks or so. I am pedalling furiously on. At least, I was until I checked out under the bed upstairs. The big bed in the room where Tom spent his last night here - way back in August 2021.

He had the most terrible dizziness ( we found later arising from tiny bleeds on his brain and his ears), the attendant nausea and vomiting (sorry). He was sick several times, each time me running to the bathroom with the bowl to clean it ,ready to come back to try to do my best to reassure him. The ambulance finally came and Tom had to use all his strength to walk to the top of the stairs and then inch down on his bottom as for some reason they could not carry him. I can’t remember the reason now.

He was a brave, stoic, calm man - dignified even in this horrible situation. He made it to the front door, onto a trolley, into the ambulance and away. All this at 22:00, after a very long wait and a day of horror and illness. Here. Upstairs. In this house. I had blocked it out, smoothed off the rougher edges of the awfulness of it.

So, today. In my clearing mood, I look under the bed for the first time. I found more stuff to take the garage and then, hidden behind the last bag, the bowl. The grey bowl we used that night. Without a second thought, I pulled it out. There it was, a non-descript, plastic washing up bowl.

Immediately, it all came back. Tom sitting on the side of the bed, thin, pale, trembling, a sheen of sweat as he tried to stand. His attempts to reassure me, himself, us, both. As we were then - without realising it - in the final seconds of our time here together, before he left for hospital, never to come back.

Holding the bowl, I headed straight to the kitchen, literally saying out loud to myself “don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring” over and over again as I went down the stairs. I had to clean it, even though it was clean. Hot suds, soapy water, my repeating my mantra as I rinsed and rinsed. I am sure it was my way of trying to fix what can never be fixed.

In recent days and weeks, I have felt that everything that happened was unreal, that Tom was never here, that none of it took place. That bowl shook me awake and reminded me that it had, that we did go through that, that we did cling to hope, to each other, to life - and that we went through the whirlwind of treatment, of his suffering, of our loneliness apart, ultimately to his death together in the hospice and then onwards, in grief alone, for me.

This is a wake up call for me to take a moment, to take a breath, to be kind to myself and not driven on and on to the next charity shop run or the next corner in the house to clear. I must remember that I am still in grief, and that likely there is a storm in the wind as more endings come.

This comes with love to everyone today who is caught in the snare of grief today, those who have had flashbacks like mine, those wading on through the trauma, the loss, the loneliness, the silence.

My mantra, from Dad’s Army, helped me through. I didn’t panic - just remembered. Remembered my brave, brave man, the love of life.

Hold tight, everyone, we have got this, even me, even though it doesn’t always feel like it. Loads of love x


my dear @Lonely - I am so very sad and sorry to hear what you and Peter went through and you were left with all the stuff after he died. Experiences like ours change people, don’t they? We have seen what the worst is that can happen. What bad really does look like - and somehow we have to find the strength to keep going. Sending loads and loads of love to you and everyone on here who is going through a tough day x


Until I read this i realized that I haven’t got rid of the trappings of my husband’s journey before he died apart from sending back his unused drugs. I use his stuff. I didnt get rid his diabetic foot shoes he wanted me to keep or un used equipment we bought. It is still where he wanted it. I am still trying to process what happened. It is six months since he died and seven months since he was last here when he hobbled out of the house. I dont have to. Other people assumed I did. I just said back to them that I do not. Everyone is different. But I haven’t got other places that I have to clear.
Yet when my father died my mother wanted to get rid of all his clothes cluttering up his bedroom so she could put her things there so she slung it on the bed so I had to give bags to charity shops or keep better stuff in my loft until my husband got cross and just took it away there himself. Had this idea I could sell it.
But I am wearing my husband’s shirts. Perhaps that seems strange but I did the same with some of my mother’s clothes before I did get rid of them. My old aunt wanted them.

There are so many widows living all around me.

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All my neighbours know now about my husband but it gets on my nerves being looked at with sympathy ! I hate it ! Bloody village mentality isnt it !! That’s why i think sometimes im gonna move … but not yet … will wait for right time - still too emotional - but actually sometimes i think is living around here making me worse ??? C how it goes Xx


Oh dear …thats bad innit ? Maybe you should move ? Xxx

Oh thats brliant ! You start going out more - be good for you ! Sometimes we just have to say sod the money dont we ! We only live once after all xxx ( i get what you mean about moving - its very traumatic isnt it ! Lot of stress) xx

Aw … well done ! You do nice things for yourself :wink: me and my daughter are going for a spa evening for her birthday next week. Its not cheap either but i don’t care ! Whats point of money if we cant enjoy it especially after what we been through xx

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@Lonely good for you. Do everything you can to make yourself feel even a tiny bit better. If you can afford the taxis absolutely take advantage. No point waiting on your family to help if they’re not interested. Sending hugs

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Yeh a lot of truth in that isnt there ! My son… wow hes a sod ! Hes totally controlled by his wife ! And thanks im looking forward to it xxx

Oh dear … make her pay if ypu ever go out with her again … thsts so mean ! People hey :frowning: what do we do with them … if you’re mind they abuse that kindness dont they :frowning: xxx i think her family are mean though ! No excuses for that ! Xx

I agree with you you do lose your confidence ! How can you not with such a precious part of your life is taken … you stand up for yourself ! I dont blame you xxx

Years ag my neighbour took advantage of me leaving her elderly father alone. He would try to get me to ferry him but I refused. Why should I do it while his daughter plays golf?
No way. When I need a favour back none is forhcoming. He went in a care home and she expected me to visit. I only went once but send notes for her to take instead.

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Yeh its funny how people are so happy to accept your help but don’t return the favour ? Funny isnt it ? Its called being selfish and its all about me, me, me ! Exhausting people like that are !! Its all one way isnt it … mmm my mothers like that ! Expects everybody to run around after her but does so little in return ! Oh she cant get off her butt for anybody but we all have to run around after her ! Shes got a car and can drive but will she go see anyone ? Oh no we all have to go to her !!!

Yeh … you dont have to accept it though with your kids ! Id yell them what you think ! Might shock them into shame ! :wink: Oh yeh my mother is driving me up the wall ! She is so selfish ! I do most for her but does she appreciate any of it ! Does she hell . Im sick of her ! Leaving her where she is !! To stew in her own juice ! Im not running around after her anymore ! Shes not having it all her own way ! I just lost my husband and i deserve some TLC … if she cant be bothered to do that why should i run around after her ! ;( xx

Yeh im not gonna run around after her dont worry ! Ive told her that - its always about her ! Gonna give her a wide birth for a while - she was alright for a bit and was supporting me but i think shes got a bit bored of it now … huh … i done so much for her in the past … shes a pain in bum … she doesnt live that near me so will be able to ignore her … xx

Yeh i agree with you @Lonely we do need to put our well being first - we have lost so much … so sad … had a better day today as just did what i wanted with no pressure from anybody else or having to listen to my mothers negative vibes … i dunno why she is so miserable but its her problem isnt it ? Been a lovely day and only just seen this message … been sat in the garden in the sun … thoughts often go to my lovely hubby though … i talk to him … do you do that ? Xxx

Yes it is amazing @Lonely just how people take, take, ttake but give so little in return ! :frowning: shame u cant sit outside in the sun as be good for you … cant you take a radio out with you and then you won’t feel so alone ? Also have you thought of fostering a rescue dog ? Its only temporary then ? Just an idea :bulb:
Ive got my husbands ashes here too … i cant let them go as i like them here :)i am gonna make sure that we are together too when i go too … not actually decided where yet ? Cant even get my head around fact hes not here yet :frowning: waiting for bereavment counselling ! Dont think ive fully come to terms with it yet but do we ever ? I dunno ? Xx

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Yeh thsts why i was saying to foster a dog and then its not permanent ? Glad youre out in sun a bit …im doing my usual today going over snd over why /what i couldve done before my husband got really poorly … i don’t think we are looked after or monitored enough in this country ! Its all DIY … if my husband had known how ill he was im sure he wouldve got help earlier ! Ofcourse covid didnt help either putting everybody off going to drs ! Its disgusting really … miss him so much as im sure you do your husband ! I agree though just sat in garden without them is pretty excruciating :frowning: but we need to try get more sun :sunny:


Fair enough. Just an idea. Glad you sat in the sunshine :slight_smile: xxx

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