I didn't think it would be so excruciatingly difficult. It has taken me almost two years to get up the courage and emotional strength to start going through my beloved Warren's clothes, preparing them to be donated. So a few weeks ago I began pulling out some shirts, slacks, jackets, and ties, going through pockets and making sure that everything was in good condition. Actually everything in the closet is in impeccable condition: all shirts had been cleaned and covered in plastic, all his pants were neatly hung on pants hangers. Many of his clothes and his suits were custom-made and he took very good care of them.
As I took each piece out, the memories started flooding my mind, remembering the times he had worn each item, picturing him wearing everything, flashes of the photos I have of him wearing each piece. As I laid each item of clothing on the dining room table, it felt a little like pieces of me were being torn away, bit by bit. It took me a few days to actually gather up this first batch of clothes, put them in my SUV and drive to the donation place. Just before I started to drive out of the parking lot, I had a total meltdown. I pulled over, parked and let it all come out. I screamed, I cried, I yelled, I swore and then repeated it all a few more times. My nose was running, my breathing was sporadic and my eyes were filled with so many tears I couldn't see to drive. After several minutes I calmed down sufficiently to drive home.
I really had not expected that kind of a reaction. It was so strong, heart wrenching and painful. And now a second group of clothes has been donated and I had the same reaction. There are a lot of clothes to go through so there will be several more trips. I can't do it all at once nor do I want to. The physical act of going through each piece may ultimately be helpful and healing for me.
And, as our boys have told me, "Dad is continuing to do good in the world."
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