Earlier this week I wrote about finding my deceased husband's tweed jacket in the back of a guest room closet and what it felt like to discover it.
Now, unfortunately, it's time to say good-bye to his Irish wool jacket. It doesn't fit my son and the jacket doesn't really hold any special meaning for him. Even though it once belonged to my husband, I have arrived at that point in my life where I know I can't save everything that holds meaning for me. Some things you just have to set free into the universe.
In my head, I know that my husband was a lot more than his stuff. A whole lot more. His stuff did not define him. I tell myself over and over that a loved one's possession is just that: a possession.
My heart knows that the memory I have of his possessions will always be strong and special and I won't forget it. But that doesn't make getting rid of it any easier.
I know. I know. Eventually, I'm going to have to let it go.
I can take a picture of it. I can digitalize it. I can donate it to someone who will actually use it.
But then I won't be able to touch it or hold it or smell it.
There are no grief guidebooks out there which tell you exactly what you should do for every situation that you will need to confront upon a loved one's death because each life journey is unique. We each must learn for ourselves how to cope and process our grief.
And going through a loved one's things after their death is part of processing your feelings. It's amazing that I found the jacket in the back of the closet and even more amazing to look at the articles that were inside the jacket. But there is a time for everything and I think the jacket had its time with my husband. Now it's time for the jacket to find another man.
You may be in a similar situation right now and looking for ways to figure out what to do. This article from The Minimalists has some helpful hints and a touching story about getting rid of a loved one's things and may help you define what's important and what's not important, what you should keep and what you should discard: