Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tired of Ripping Off the Big Grief Band-Aid

Once again, I’m grieving the pending loss of an inanimate object.

What is with me??? I mean, it’s not like it got up and kissed me good morning every day. It’s not like it comforted me when I was blue. It hasn’t even bought me any jewelry worth mentioning.

But it was something my husband put together years ago.

My oldest daughter’s birthday is coming up and my big surprise for her is that when she comes home from school, her room will have been magically changed from a little girl’s room…to a space more fitting for a pre-teen.

Now, I’m really excited to do this. It involves everything that I love: Shopping, decorating, and…well…shopping.

But in my attempt to make this miraculous transformation…something’s got to go in order to make more room. And that something would be the dresser my husband put together for her years ago.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, my 2 ½ year old daughter was promoted from the nursery to her own “big girl room” because her brother was on the way. I happily decorated a very girly space for her and I can still see my husband grunting and groaning over the cheap piece of furniture that I’d bought for her room. And I’ll never forget the look of delight on her face when she walked into her new space.

Now, I know that, realistically speaking, I’m really kind of grieving two things: The loss of the dresser and the fact that my daughter is no longer a little girl. A transformation that my husband has missed.

But it got me to thinking last night.

Sometimes I feel like as I slowly get rid of all of these things from my past, things that were here when my husband was here…well…I feel like I’m slowly ripping off a band-aid. I mourn every piece that goes, every pad of paper that I throw away that might have one page with his handwriting on it, every pillow that has gone flat, but he may have slept on it at some point.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the changes I have made to my house. I wouldn’t want to be a bedroom with the wallpaper falling down around me. I realize that, while getting rid of the dryer was sad, I don’t have the time to line dry everything. I’m happy with the new exterior paint color.

But as I was sitting on my bed feeling a little blue last night, I asked myself, “If you could do anything...and money was no object…what would you want to do?  Would you have left this house already?  Or will you never be able to leave this house?”

Here’s what I decided.

If my husband had to go, what I wish I could have done was have the unlimited funds to pick up and leave this house right away. Just kind of make a clean break. Move into someplace completely new with new everything…furniture, pictures…everything. No more slowly taking off that band-aid. Just rip it off, arm hairs and all, and be done with it.

But I’d want to be able to keep my house and leave it exactly the way it was when he was here.

(I don’t know if there is such a thing as a “house hoarder” but I’d like to give it a shot.)

Wouldn’t that be amazing? To kind of move forward a little, but to know that if you wanted to, you could walk right back into your old house and remember things exactly how they were. When you start feeling sad, it could be kind of like your “Grief Clubhouse” and you could just drive over, walk in, and bawl your eyes out. No reason to get rid of any of the stuff you don’t use…because you’re already in a new and energy efficient place (with a maid. Hey…if I’m going to daydream, I might as well go all the way). You don’t have to get rid of that dryer…the one at your new house works great. Who cares if your kids don’t fit in those little beds anymore? They’ve got new stuff at the new house.

I have visions of myself as I am now, walking into this house as it was then, like it’s a museum. Just walking through the rooms and seeing things as he left them. His clothes still in the closet. Our bed unmade ‘cause we just didn’t have time. His coffee pot still on the counter. His shoes thrown some place where I’m sure to trip over them.

There’s just one thing that keeps this scenario from being perfect.



  1. It's like the Miranda Lambert song, "The House that Built Me." It is evidence of who you became-wife, mother, etc.-because of your marriage, the life you made with your husband. It will always be in your heart, even if the outward appearance changes or you have to leave that physical proof behind or literally let it go like a chest or a dryer. I don't miss my house in Ohio so much as I miss the life (lives) that was (were) created and lived while there with my husband. It is one of the houses that built me, for better or for worse.

  2. I know what you mean, I never throw away paper with his writing on it. I've actually started a file in my filing cabinet just for paper with his writing on it. (Lucky for me, he didn't write much, so I'm not overwhelmed).

  3. I did move house.Both my parents had passed away within 5 months of each other, and their house was sitting empty, and it was disabled adapted, and we were living and sleeping in the living room as hubby could no longer manage the stairs, so we moved in.Well, i say we, as i packed the whole house myself, supervised the move, and all hubby had to do was sit in the car for the 15 mile trip.My parents house still had their 50 years of marriage belongings in it, and believe me, my mum liked to hoard.Mix that with my 30 odd years away from home, and all my accululated "stuff", and you will get some idea of the mayhem.Hubby lived for a year in this house,he enjoyed the pleasure of a shower again, instead of bedbaths, he had the freedom of a stairlift,so he could snooze in the armchair, or take himself off to bed.It was sweet.2 years since i moved in, i have finally finished unpacking, and have sorted and cleared and shared my parents things.It was very hard, it felt like they were "in" those things,but they werent, they are inside me. Now i will have to sell next year, and move again, but i guess my point is...well, home is where the heart is, and wherever i go, i take all the memories with me.There are some things i cannot part with,and they will come to the new home with us.Its funny how we transfer affection to objects isnt it.