When did you get rid of stuff?
- His clothes -- I tossed most within a few weeks. He cherished his chinos, but I was sure this was the last thing he'd care about.
- Clothes, the rest of them -- 2 years
- The clothes he went to the hospital in, the last time -- just recently (I had hidden them).
- Toiletries from in medicine chest -- 3 months.
- Toiletries, rest of them -- 1.5 years
- Jovan Musk -- stayed in cabinet for 2 years
- Prescription opiates, hypodermics -- 2.5 years
- Books -- I started to sell them after a few months, but then, he'd promised me he'd winnow them down already. I've done this slowly, emotionally, in tiers. At last, at 2.5 years, I can see them by their cash value (But I am writing down the names of all his books, preserving the information as part of his artwork/legacy).
- Furniture of his that I never liked -- 2 years.
- His car which didn't work at all but I was paying the insurance -- 2 years.
- His art materials -- starting to, 2.5 years out.
- Junk in the basement (unmarked toxic liquids, odd bits of wire) -- starting to, 2.5 years out.
- His tools -- starting to, 2.5 years out. Amazing that he fancied himself handy at all. Look at this house! Argh!!!
- His stuff in the attic -- god knows if I will do it even when we move.
- His family photos -- trying to get the good ones scanned so I can throw them out. (40 or so oversize albums of his mother’s – she died two years after he did).
Each week when I was on leave I bring home half dozen office boxes and feel productive (the "library" still has a wall of filled labeled boxes). I deducted more than $1200 in $250 increments in each of 2006, 2007, and 2008.
The hospice social worker advised me to keep a t-shirt or something to remember his smell; I did but I can’t remember using it and tossed it at about a year.
As far as emotions, seeing his things around casually has been helpful for grieving and okay for my young child. However, I'm glad I took his voice off the answering machine (after about a week). I'm finally feeling ready to take his name off the phone bills so that I can appear on caller ID.
My situation may be a little unusual because he was an artist, and I will have a bunch of his artwork forever, for our daughter. Even better, 98% of it is in collections and loved all over town. This makes it easier to NOT treat his “sensitive” toothpaste as a “legacy,” but that crap did stay on the sink for a loooong time.
But basically -- seeing these objects categorized and written down reminds me that it's just stuff.
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