Leaving the past behind

by HH
(widowhood :( USA)

I long for the day when I can say to only a rare few people that he died a year, 2 years ago and not count the months days and hours that he has been gone.

I say that because he died yes I can finally say died vs/ he left. If he left he would be coming back. But he is not...Ever. He Died 14 months ago today. Almost to the hour, but I try SO hard not to think of that. Try so hard not to let that day invade my day and make me a mess of emotions. I push that day back like a sour vile bile that comes up as a memory as I try my damndest to go on with this life that I have been dealt, but am not welcoming.

So far I have 7 boxes of books in the car to donate. It might be spring cleaning for some but each thing that I touch and donate is like a burning memory that I hafta let go. People keep telling me that Paul would want me to be happy, want to go on. That is easy to say, sorta like how to lose weight, easy to say hard to do.

My logic and emotions fight each other daily, guess which one always wins? So as I go through "Our things" from our house I try to be detached. just a simple yes or no....Do you use it? will you read it? will you wear it? By the time I am done I will need a moving truck to dispose of all the memories that we had.

I will be going through the garage as well(eventually). His space His place. I try to act as if I am trying to help someone else and not myself. That is the only way to get rid of things, our things our life what was but isn't anymore.

And maybe Just maybe when this place is painted and redone to an extent...I can call it my life and someday be comfortable with it.

Comments for Leaving the past behind

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Feb 09, 2011
How do we let go?
by: Anonymous

HH, thanks for your post. I too am dealing with 28 years of our life together, now piled in the garage for the past two years since he died. His pick up truck still in the driveway, because our son cannot bear to part with it. It is almost like a "dad" is home if the truck is in the drive. How much longer do we punish ourselves, or are we being too insensitive with wanting to move on? Not sure we all can answer to the rash of emotions...

Feb 09, 2011
You can't leave the past behind (even if you wanted to)
by: HH


Let me be honest here. I have too much stuff. Paul "was" a minimalist when he met me, 4 plastic bowls, sheets for curtains etc total bachelorish. We did amass things in our 17 years together, And it if means something to me I am not giving it up or giving it to any body.

It is true I am attempting to make a new environmental But Paul will always be in my thoughts and changing the paint on the wall will not remove him from my memories.

He never would have had the house this cluttered and I am ashamed. Ashamed that I really don't give a shit like I should. We worked hard Paul and I. Always had a project going of some sort.
Usually twice a year he would back up his truck and say trucks going to the dump in 1 hour or 2 or whatever and I would scramble (pissed off) trying to get rid of stuff in a hurry.

I am trying to adapt as you put it and having a helluva time doing it. Not adapting well at all not that 14 months means times up. Just that this last leg of grief makes me feel like I am spinning my wheels and getting no where.

I just lost my dental insurance because I ran out of the orientation meeting in Sept. Upset thinking about Paul so, Had no idea that I was supposed to sign up for dental insurance.

Life is one big damn brain fart. And I am tired of it. The only way I can figure to do it to get out of this sense of? what the hell am I doing ? is to...Do something. If that makes sense.

You have been a huge help and I would never get mad at any advice you give. I in fact appreciate it like you'll never know. Thanks so much for letting me in on the possibility of an error made whilst in grief...

Feb 09, 2011
Adjusting to the "New Normal"
by: Hope


So good to hear from you again. I am sitting here now on this site. I have had lunch and yep a smoke and a cuppa coffee there is not excuse for me sitting here. Yet the act of going through my clothes thinking....I won't wear this, why bother?
Heels, Nah I used to dress up special now and then for him. Yes I should have pride to wear things for me. And I will not toss it all. But I will see an outfit and remember how his eyes sparkled and he said you look very nice. So even My clothes are a memory.

My sister helped me go through his clothes during the 2nd month. I only kept things of sentimental value along with some of his T-shirts that I still sleep in. Makes me feel both lonely and a little better, hard to describe.
I know that this part acceptance is a real bitch. Almost as bad as initial grief itself. It is hard to let go/ adjust to this new life. It still feels strange and unwelcome.

Do things in your own time and your own way. My brother is going to show up with a pick up truck this Saturday and think that I will have gone through the entire house. Not that easy though.
Every thing is a memory of some sort. My best to you in your journey of grief. Thinking of you and everyone that really helps me through the day.

Feb 07, 2011
Leaving the past
by: Judy

You know Hope it isn't as much leaving the past behind as it is understanding that your reality has changed and adapting to that reality. We all leave things in the past, jobs, bad marriages, our kids as babies and toddlers. The difference here is that this reality was thrust upon us.

I still have truckloads of Barry's things here. I have not, in 14 months, been able to go through his clothing. The one bag I did do before breaking down is still sitting in my entry way-I have not even got it to the van yet for drop off at Goodwill. I really just want to leave the house one day and come back to empty closets. I guess that is not a realistic plan but that what I want to have happen. I don't want to touch every item and fight off the memories.

You are brave and tough to be going through Paul's things and moving them on. I keep thinking that a homeless veteran would benefit from Barry's fleece lined jacket but it reminds me of our days at the camp in CA and I don't want to be reminded so I hang it back up. The homeless veteran remains cold and I remain stuck in my memories.

So give yourself kudos for what you have done. You're going great.

Feb 07, 2011
leaving the past behind
by: Mari

I understand HH. I think that it is just too hard to see their stuff around, too many memories. And you are indeed helping others who are in need of things.

I understand too you not saying he left as that means he is coming back. I always say my husband went to be with the Lord.To me that means we will meet again.

I know it is hard and I am still very sensitive after 14 months. I donated what I felt to others could use and kept all pictures and awards and I wear his pajamas.

So I feel just as you do and my sons and son-in-laws helped me a great deal always asking me what should go.I let them have what they wanted.

Now I have been dealing with something else. That is getting his name off everything. It hurts my feelings to see magazines come for him and his name on them. I changed my phone with Comcast so just my name would be on the caller ID.It has taken a long time to accomplish this. Everything was in his name. The taxes were in his name all through 2010 but should be off now.

As far as I am concerned this will always be our home but I just don't want my feelings hurt seeing his name on everything. The house is in my name only now.

I am trying , as you are to go on and we are doing what needs to be done.It easy as you well know. It is not as if we are forgetting our husbands be cause that will not happen.
I just feel that I must take control of my life. It is so hard but people have been so nice about it understanding how I feel in regards to this.

I am also painting. I have all the paint and I have redone some of the rooms. It keeps me busy and my husband would be pleased. He always said,''You did all that sweetheart? It looks beautiful.''I am still trying to get comfortable as it was and is our home. I am getting there one step, one breath at a time. God bless you.

Feb 07, 2011
So very true!!
by: Cindy

HH... I loved every word you wrote. Today would have been my 35th anniversary and my husband passed away 2 1/2 months ago. This is very difficult for me and I almost feel like I am going to have a panic attack. I had to immediately get his things out of the closet because it was so painful to go in there. I miss him with all my heart and so very hard to continue on with this life. You are so right about people saying he would want you to be happy, easy to say but hard to do like losing weight. I love that and I want to start saying that too because I get so tired of people telling me that. How do they know, they haven't gone through this?!! The garage is a painful place for me too. So many memories of his in there and I haven't gotten rid of any of the tools. He just loved his tools and it just breaks my heart. I just cry when I go out there and see all of his things. I pray for comfort for you and all of us that have to travel this dark journey that we were thrown into...

Feb 07, 2011
Leaving the past
by: Zoe


I understand the need to clean up but can you really
Leave the past? What part of the past? Or are you working
To move away from you last with Paul? The stuff in your car is just stuff will not having these books make him less in your memory or in your heart? Are you ready for that, do you really want that?
I just worry for you that you are trying to fit some timeline that is not what you want and this is one time in your life you should be selfish with what you want
I understand not wanting to live in this searing pain
Moving away from that may not necessarily mean you move away from Paul
Look I know nothing and I do not want you to take what I say as being unsupportive
I just want you to be sure it is what you want not what others think is what you should do
There are no rules about this it is very personal for you
I have started to have comfort in living with John
It is our house I talk to him we are together
That does not mean there is not change
My roxy my search and rescue shepherd and the other part of my heart died one month after John devastation after devastation
So now we have Sebastian a 9 week sable shepherd (yes a puppy I am now officially insane)
You do not have to leave the past just incorporate it into your future. If you are not ready to give-up the books then take them back in the house
Forget helping others help you do what feels right to you no matter what is supposed to be right
And keep coming to us
One breath one step one day at a time

I love you baby
I can't do this without you I don't want to

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