Recent bereavement

I am in the process of sorting out clothing and stuff for my local charity shop. My main thought was to give some of my husband stuff for charity. However, this is easier said than done. I cant bring myself to give my hubby stuff away. It is like giving him away or removing him from where he rightfully belong. Am I losing my mind?

‘Losing your mind’? Then we all are on here!! What you feel is a perfectly natural response to grief. Of course you don’t want to part with his belongings. I went through this too. But if you leave too much about you will be constantly reminded of your loss. My wife was an artist and I have kept all her pictures on the walls. They remind me of happier times. But the rest is gone. It takes some courage to do it but in my opinion it needs to be done. Now that is my opinion and many would disagree. Fine! We all grieve in our own way and can only speak from personal experience. But so often being constantly reminded of something so awful is not good. My wife is in my mind, and will be forever. Material things have no real meaning for me. After nearly a year I am beginning to see some daylight.
Give yourself time. If you can’t bring yourself to do it now you may feel better about it later. Try not to think in terms of right or wrong. It’s how you feel. There is no right or wrong in grief.
As for losing your mind.!! You have suffered a life trauma, we all have. Is it any wonder we have strange thoughts about ourselves. Nothing can be the same, but we can only do our best, that’s all that’s asked of us.
Blessings and take care of yourself. A Hug.

I know how you feel. The only things I got rid of were his gardening shoes and fleece. Every time I went into the garage I saw them and it reduced me to tears. One day I just took them and threw them in the bin and collapsed in a heap on the garage floor. However I find it easier to go into the garage now.
His clothes in the house are in drawers and wardrobes so I don’t see them
People tell me I will know when I am ready to give them a new home. Until then they will stay where they are. I don’t see them therefore they don’t hurt me. Putting them in charity bags would be too painful at this time.
So I would suggest that you leave things for the moment and like me hope there will come a time when it feels right.

Hi Jonathan. You are right, having to make a decision to get rid of our loved ones things is the most difficult decision I have ever made. I decided right from the start to make that move. I found it too difficult seeing all his clothes and equipment. Like your wife Brian was an artist and had so much stuff it took me five weeks to sort it. I kept most of his paintings and they are all over the house, 10 in the living room, 8 in the bedroom and others in other rooms, even the kitchen/bathroom. His painting books I donated to a local art class. He was also a musician and his instruments I sent to auction. Camera’s and what must have been thousands of photographs had to be sorted through some destroyed some I kept. It broke my heart but I don’t regret clearing things out. My Brian is with me always, I didn’t need items of clothing to remind me. Although I did keep back a few things that I now wear and a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt that he particularly liked wearing when he was walking. So I would say keep a few things as a keepsake and then let the rest go. But each of us must do what we feel is right for us.
Pat xx

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My wifes belongings, clothes etc are still in her wardrobe, her slippers by the bed, her glasses on the bedside table and her dressing gown and bathrobe still hang on the back of the door. I just cant contemplate changing anything just yet , if ever, the reason being they still provide so much comfort. To smell her perfume on her clothes, to handle her things, to be as close to her as possible is something I still very strongly need right now. The situation may change and its different for everyone but theres no time limit or optimum opportunity when these very sensitive decisions should or have to be made. You just do what seems right for you at this very difficult period for us all.
Take care everyone.

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Although I cleared out so much of Brian’s things I have since realised just how much I kept. His slippers are still by his chair and toothbrushes still in the bathroom. Some of his coats are still hanging up and I wear them myself sometimes although they are rather large.
While Brian was very ill and in a bed loaned from the Hospice and in our dining room I sat reading a book when he slept, Brian recommended it and read it after him . I noticed the other day that book still in the same place I left it after he died. I can’t bring myself to continue reading it or to move it. I have no idea why I feel this way about a book that was interesting. His clothes and other things I was able to see go, yet a book, I can’t bear to touch it. Strange!!! So right, we have to do what we can cope with.

We all react to the personal possessions in different ways. I blindly thrust most of his clothes into bags right away…some to the dump(rubbish) and some for charity. Some just screamed no - no,never at me, and after a squeeze they went into a drawer that I only opened and raided a few days ago. I didn’t think twice about gifting them away. A local man had a fire and lost all but the clothes on his back. Che would have really liked that gesture. I will always have his carvings, and pictures of him are everywhere. I wear our "shared "toque now the weather is cool. One of his hats hangs by the door, and I often gently touch it and his leather jacket hangs in the cupboard. I have a few various "mementos’ lying about as well. I have some strange aversions. I can’t throw out an opened box of cereal, his fave, that I can’t/won’t eat - can’t touch it and won’t even look at it…It’s in the bottom corner of the cupboard taunting me. One day soon I’ll purge my kitchen cabinets for the food bank, because there are new items I just can’t bear to think about using. My meals now are very different - usually made in a style or with ingredients he didn’t care for.

Sorting and packing up his tools was a multi day task. I would pick up something like a level and just burst into tears, and keep it. I have about 20 screwdrivers, I’m sure. He was an incredibly gifted carver and builder. His passion was hunting & fishing (I’m in western Canada), and I have all his gear, and mine. Can’t bring myself to do either without him this year. Can’t give any of it away, can hardly look at it.

I am so thankful that this place exists. We need to be able to talk about all these things with those that understand. I mean who else can I tell that I’ve had a half eaten box of Fruit Loops in my cupboard for 4months???

I can completely understand and emphasize with your feelings and emotions. My husband passed away in April 2019 following a 4 year battle with terminal lung cancer. He was a non smoker very healthy man. He lived for our 3 children. 2 boys 14 and 10 year olds and a 4 year old daughter who was his little princess. My husband told me he wasnt afraid to die but the reality of leaving us and the fear of our struggles when he passed distressed him.

I thought I could sort out his person belongings and give it to charity. But, I cannot bring myself to do it. It feels like giving him away. My children do not want to part with his stuff as well. I supposed to them it’s the only thing they have left of him.

It has been and continues to be a void, empty and unhappy existence without my husband.

Hi englishprince55,

I think you have to go with your gut feeling and only start parting with things when it feels right.
I got rid of all my mums clothes and shoes the weekend she died. I couldn’t bear to see her things in her wardrobe that she would never get to wear again.
4 months on and I have just got rid of her purse and other bits and pieces from her drawer.
I’m just doing things as and when they feel right. I’m scattering her ashes tomorrow and this is filling me with dread even though they just sit in her wardrobe. I know it’s the right thing to do, it’s just hard to let go of them.
I’m sure you will know when it’s the right time to start clearing his things x

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And I can understand yours as well. I would think that your children view their father’s belongings as special and part of him. I kept certain items and will never give them away. I lost my father at 20, and that was hard. I can only imagine your family’s sorrow, and I am sorry.

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Hi English Princess55 - a thought about your children and yourself and your husbands belongings. My local hospice have a wonderful thing they offer - they make soft toys from items of clothing that mean something to you and this is a way of keeping your loved one close to you. Perhaps make some enquiries locally if not this service is offered by St Elizabeths Hospice in Ipswich xx

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Hi Heather. Of course we all understand. I was able to get rid of Brian’s clothes/painting equipment/some of his camera’s/musical instruments but I can’t bring myself to touch his tools at the allotment and only opened up his shed twice since November. He was so fussy about his tools and I can’t bear to get them dirty, daft or what!!! Probably sentimental because working on the allotment was something we did together and means so much to me, they remind me of our time together growing the veg. He liked his hats and some of them are still hanging up around the house. I’ve even took to wearing them myself. His jackets are all hanging up as I can wear them and at the moment I’m also wearing his waterproofs (too big but who cares). I carry his wallet with me and have put some money in it for him. I also have a photo of him in my bag. I can then give him a kiss at any time.
Now this might seem strange but Brian hated sweet potato’s but I love them, so now I eat them often but every time I do I feel so guilty. Is he watching me and pulling a face I wonder.

Pat xxx

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I have kept a lot of my husbands clothes. I threw out vest, pants and socks straight away. I wear a couple of his jumpers. His trousers, jackets and suits are in the wardrobe. His last shirt that he wore, all hanging in the wardrobe in the spare bedroom. When I feel low I open the wardrobe and smell his clothes. I don’t know if it’s ‘normal’ but I do it anyway. I just can’t let go of him. I have dried flowers from his funeral, they are in a vase next to our wedding photo. I say goodnight and hi everyday. We all find comfort in different ways.

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The place I find really hard is the garage. I always used to joke that I could never let him go to a diy shop on his own. The garage was his den. All the tools that he bought and used over the years, the jobs he did round the house. I just don’t know what to do with them.

We do anything that will bring us some comfort. I too have a multitude of tools. Brian was always buying something or other. Now I’m almost frightened to touch them as he hated anyone messing with his things and I’m waiting for something to happen of I move them. So most of them are stacked in the shed that I was forced to tidy up as I couldn’t get in it to get to my paints (I do all the decorating). He had put these right at the back, crafty devil.
I wear some of Brian’s clothes quite often as they suit my outdoor activities.
Today I went off for a most of the day walk with the dogs as weather was great. I walked along a beautiful beach and sat looking at the boats in the Marina. I took out my phone and pressed the button to call Brian’s phone (now disconnected) and talked as I would when he was alive. Telling him where I had been, how long I would be and what did he want for tea when I got home. I told him I loved him just as I used to. I enjoyed having our ‘chat’. I do this quite often.
Pat xxx

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No I can not bring myself to even sort through my husbands clothes or personal belongings, my opinion they are only taking up the same space they did before and it is a comfort to see them the hardest part for me is not seeing any items in the ironing basket strange as that might seem like his shirts etc. and the times I miss his most are meal times cooking for one hard, eating alone hard, but I ask myself the same question I asked him and the answer is the same he would want me to get on with living my life, easier said than done, but it is what we both said to each other.

I have tried many times, to part with my husbands clothes, break down just touching them, I remembered the times we bought certain items together. I have moved them to the loft, a little bit of progress. I look around my house and go round, and can recall all the things we chose together, it’s all painful reminders of our life together. I too wear my husbands clothes, it’s lovely to see them on the washing line. Lucky we were the same size, his tee-shirts fit under my jumpers, wear his joggers at night time to chill out in, he’s got a lovely wax coat which I intend to wear to go out walking in the winter. It’s great I can take comfort in these items, as I can’t bring myself to give them away or cut them up for memory cushions or bears. We all have to do what we feel best.

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