Today I did what I could not do for the past year.
I cleaned out my husband's dressers and closets.
I saved a few things that will always remind me of him and who he was. The rest is nestled into 5 large contractor bags and is being donated to a homeless mission that my sister-in-law is a director of.
I saved all of my husband's running shirts and will make quilts out of them for all the kids. Lots of cutting, sewing, piecing, tears and memories but I think they will love it.
I don't know how I feel right now. Not happy, not altogether sad. Maybe a bit numb.
How is it possible to reduce someone's life to a few packages?
Suits, ties, and dress shirts remind of the wonderful formal times we shared. Weddings, dinners, the cruise we took and sat at the Captain's table...
Work clothes remind me of his love for his career. He really felt he made a difference in this world, and he DID! Jim left this earth a better, cleaner place for generations to come.
Casual clothes remind of his laid back manner, fun filled days and nights just "being us".
All his winter wear find me picturing him flying down the snowy slopes of some mountain. Poetry in motion on skis. Family vacations, cold hands and warm mugs of coffee laced with a bit of Bailey's Irish Cream for us, hot chocolate for the kids.
Sweatshirts from college; torn, tattered but still he wore them in the fall to rake leaves. I can still see him, baseball hat on his thick head of black hair, and 30 year old sweatshirt (it's an oldie but goodie just like me he would tell me).
So many people wrapped into one. Husband, father, son, brother, boss, so many hats to wear and he wore them all so well with a humble humor and zest for everything in life.
I will smile this winter when the cold winds blow knowing that someone, somewhere, will be warm in a coat, a scarf, gloves, perhaps a pair of his fine wool boot socks.
Perhaps someone will wear one of his suits to a much needed job interview.
Maybe one of his caps will shield someone's head from the hot sun.
I wish it wasn't so, but it was time and the clothes never really made the man. He was all he ever needed to be all by himself without any dressing up.