Sunday, April 12, 2015

DIFFERENT LEVELS OF GOODBYE

Almost by accident, today I finally took all my husband's suits and dress shirts to the St. Vincent de Paul pickup at our parish.  Usually, I just call them, and they pick things up right at our house, but since the Church had a truck where we could drop things off right after Mass, I decided I'd take a few of the shirts that I didn't feel exceptionally fond of and his suits, and pass them on to someone who could use them.  I had been struck when I read Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking that it was odd that she couldn't give her husband's shoes away after he died because he'd need them if he came back; although I had no trouble giving away my husband's shoes, I liked seeing his suits and shirts hanging in the closet just as if he might come back and get dressed for work.  But when I took out the shirts I'd decided to give away, I saw a few others that could go, and then I realized that they all had to go together:  no matter how many I kept, he won't come back and I think I am strong enough now to deal with the empty space.  Yet, when I couldn't drop them off after the Mass I went to because the area was full, I felt like crying.  I did eventually get them to the truck later and the thrift shop people seemed very glad to have everything even though I'd put some of my clothes on top because I couldn't look at the ones that had been my husband's.  My deep sadness took me by surprise, so I came home and cleaned out the coat closet according to the principles in a helpful new book I've been reading, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.  Getting rid of hoodies and coats that no longer "spark joy" and rearranging the ones that are left was the lift I needed to climb out of the Slough of Despond and get back to crafting a life that I love even if it's not the one I would have chosen.

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