I have known it is time to start packing up James' things for awhile now, but as with most things, I have been dragging my feet. I am such a procrastinator. But it's time. It's time to jump that last hurdle of denial and false hope and accept he is not going to need his things because he is not coming home to use them. Ever.
I found out that my chiropractor is a licensed SCUBA diver. So yesterday, I took James' SCUBA vest (or whatever the heck it is called) with me to my appointment to see if it fit her and if she wanted it. She had to go out of town and I had a substitute doctor, whom I had seen before and who reminded me how much I miss and crave the casual touch of a man. (Nothing inappropriate was done-but at one point I had to lean into him so he could adjust my back. It's the same technique my regular doctor uses and is like being hugged from behind. Man, I miss the feeling of having strong arms around me. James and I were a very "huggy" couple). But this meant I had to bring the vest thingy back home with me and put it back in my closet until next time. Strike one.
A few months ago, I donated most of his clothes to the Arc and to Goodwill. I just got up one day and did it. I kept a few items that had meaning to me and his socks since they come in handy when all my white ones are dirty. I think I need new socks as it seems I wear his more often than I wear my own.
I held on to his suits though because I didn't want to just give them to anyone. I'm not sure why. I think it is because he didn't have to wear suits to work but he did because he liked the way he felt when he did. And he looked mighty fine in them, if I do say so. I am fortunate in that the last image I have of him burned into my head is him standing in our upstairs hallway in a dark suit with a maroon shirt waiting for me to pass him in the hall so he can grab his winter coat off the railing.
It also makes me a little sick to think he spent a small fortune on them. He would wait until he got his coupon from the Men's Wearhouse and would go get a new suit or two and a couple of shirts and then he would come home and proudly show me what he bought and tell me which other suits the new shirts could be worn with. He did this proudly because we always joked we needed Granimals for grown-ups and he was happy that he was going to be able to match his clothes and not go to work looking like an idiot. Someone suggested that instead of giving them away, maybe I could sell them through a consignment shop, so I decided to look into that. I know James would approve of me doing that. It's probably what he would have told me to do had he been given the chance.
I found a consignment shop in Portland called "Well Suited." All they sell is men's suits. So, yesterday, I took 8 suits, 21 shirts, 5 belts, 3 pairs of suspenders and 3 pairs of shoes to be looked at by the owner. (Yeah, I know. Leave it to me to inventory everything first). When I got there, I noticed the limo company next to them had a Steelers flag in the window, and this gave me a surge of strength. However, tears filled my eyes as he dispassionately riffled through James' clothes, setting aside 3 suits and leaving the rest on the rack. I thought that wasn't too bad-he only set aside three. And then he told me that the 3 suits he set aside was all he could use. The rest didn't meet his standards. I find that interesting as I know for a fact 2 of the shirts had never even been worn and the shoes were in much better condition than the ones I saw on the rack. As I filled out the paperwork for the three suits, I stood there and cried. I even cried out one of my contacts, which he was nice enough to allow me to use the employees' only bathroom to put back in. I had finally gotten to the point of doing something with the suits and now I had to turn around and take them back home. Strike two.
Our bedroom closet is pretty small so not long after we moved in, we had California Closets come out and redo them to give us more space. Even after doing this, there still wasn't room in our closet for my suits and dresses. I work in a very casual office, so I wasn't wearing them anyway, so they have been in one of the guest room closets. When I got home yesterday, I took all my clothes from that closet and put them in the bedroom closet so I can't put his suits back in there. They are still in the trunk of my car and I can't leave them there either. In the next couple of days, I am going to have to decide if I want to try to find another consignment shop or a non-profit to donate them to.
The frustration of having to bring everything back did tell me one important thing though: this is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. And I am ready to face it.