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What did you keep and what did you get rid of?


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Hard to believe it's been just over 4 months since I lost the love of my life. In the beginning I was so distraught, I left a lot of things behind, threw away some things like his phone and donated some things. I kept his ring, tools he had used for years, shirts and socks he bought me, 2 devotional books he bought me, his favorite belt and caps, his sunglasses and his clothes to send to his kids to make teddy bears from for the Grandkids.

Today I am distraught because I can't find his wallet he carried for years and his favorite music CDs. I swear I put them in a drawer under some clothes, but I have turned both dressers upside down and can't find them. I know it's just stuff and he doesn't know, but I do. I also left behind a wooden box he cleaned up for me to put colored pencils in and am feeling so guilty about that. 

Like I said, I kept the important things, but am on a huge guilt trip about the things I did throw out or left behind. I was so upset I couldn't think straight and just couldn't bear to look at it all. 

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I’m so sorry, Missy.  That you had to move makes this worse.  The traditional and needed, if possible, advice is to not make decisions of what to keep or not for a year.  I only rid the house of medical paraphernalia immediately.  Didn’t do anything else but get the musical instruments he gifted his buddies in his will.  Then everything sat til I felt I could handle it.  One day it hit me to donate his clothes.  I kept my favorites, and stuffed my car with everything else and to the homeless mission I knew he would have wanted.  No regrets.  Our hearts tell us when unless we get pressured and it sounds like you had to take that on.  It was the last thing you needed being so new to grief.  I hope you find what is missing and can accept what is lost is lost.  It’s so very painful, I know.  You will hopefully come to cherish what you salvaged.  Plus, no one can take your memories.  I know that sounds trite but in the coming days, months years, they become the most important. 💖

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Thank you Gwen. Lots of last minute decisions alone, but I do feel like I kept the things that meant the most to him like his ring, his tools and the books and shirts he bought me. I will learn to accept what couldn't be salvaged and treasure what could be. After all it's just "stuff" and he doesn't need it anymore, but it still brings me some degree of guilt that I couldn't salvage everything like his shaving kit and other odds and ends that are just minor things. I have precious memories and pictures on my phone that will always be with me. 

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Wow- a subject that really hits home. I had to move halfway across the country after Annette passed away. I had to pack everything myself (including over 6,000 CD's- I'm a hoarder/collector). I drove my car and had a moving company take the boxes, which was a big mess. Some boxes got crushed, and it seems like some things went missing.

So I now live in my teenage room at 50, and I have as much of Annette's stuff as possible crammed into my little room. I have a storage unit that I'm always going to (kind of like going "home") and I'm always finding things to squirrel away in there. Today I actually found her last toothbrush! I didn't even know I had it still. Still shifting through things after 6 months. I have kept a lot of her clothes, so there's no room for mine in my closet (which is crammed full of my brothers toys and records). She didn't have a lot of possessions, because she always moved so much, she didn't like to have a lot, so I kept everything. I have both her prosthetic legs even. I like having things she used, she touched, her DNA. Not creepy, just trying to keep connected. Still have her phone and her phone number active (still get spam texts and bill collector calls)

I'm just trying to stay connected with her, and things of hers helps me remember- my memory for life events kinda sucks (I can remember useless music trivia no problem).

 

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His phone wasn't very important to him so I had his account disabled and threw the phone away after I took the SIM card out. He didn't have a lot of possessions either, but one thing I do regret leaving behind were all his Rocky movies. He loved those movies. One day I will replace them. I honestly believe his wedding ring was more important to him than anything else, and that I do have.

Sorry for your loss, nash. 

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Thanks. Funny thing, neither one of us had rings- our fingers got too fat. My ring had to be sawed off at one point.

She loved Bourne movies and I have her favorite CD's (because they were "ours"). I still have a lot of her prescriptions too. There's no telling why. Maybe I still think she'll come back and need them. I kept a lot of things originally just because I thought she would be back from the hospital (even though I said goodbye).

 

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I think my biggest regret is leaving his movies behind just because he watched them over and over, and I can't find his music CDs. It's not like he can watch them now, but it bothers me. I'm sure where he is, he doesn't care about movies. He's in a far better place and eternally alive. 

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Missy, it has been over 5 years since I lost my husband.  His death was unexpected even though we were facing his bladder cancer diagnosis.  In that first year I felt I had to change my landline answer machine with his voice recording.  Now, I regret doing so.  I had my son record a new message, instead I should have just purchased another answer machine or purchased a new tape.  My brain was not computing at that time, my heart was destroyed by his sudden death.  Verizon erroneously deleted messages from his cell.  I had planned to keep his cell with his voice message.  Your having to move so early in your grief must have been painful in so many ways.   Just now, I am preparing for a move from our home and it is not going to be easy even though I have been preparing for over 9 months due to delays created by the Covid issue.  Each one of us are going through the loss of our husband, spouse, or partner and have such differences in how we deal with that grief.  It took me two years before I could remove his clothes from his closet, even though I still have not gotten rid of all of them.  I wear his wedding ring on my right hand and my wedding ring on the finger it has always been.  I will always be "Mrs".  Whenever I receive those printed address labels with my name, if there is not "Mrs" printed on it, they immediately go into the trash.  

Please try not to feel any guilt for your decisions at a time when grief is in control.  You are so early in your journey and I can only hope you will find some solace from this forum as I have.  Take care, I am so sorry for the loss of your love.  Dee

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2 hours ago, Missy1965 said:

I think my biggest regret is leaving his movies behind just because he watched them over and over, and I can't find his music CDs. It's not like he can watch them now, but it bothers me. I'm sure where he is, he doesn't care about movies. He's in a far better place and eternally alive. 

I often wonder if our loved ones can watch what we're watching. I've heard our loved ones are with us, and if Annette is with me, and watching over me- seeing what I'm doing, I'm sorry: My life is very boring now.

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I kept Steve’s wedding ring also.  It’s in his tray with his keys.  I tried wearing it and it’s too bulky.  I already wear a delicate platinum chain he gave me for our 20th anniversary.  Have added a medic alert....how romantic.   Not.  I’m not into the Mrs. thing, Dee.  I never used the title.  I know what you mean about return labels tho.  Used to have to have both our names.  Now I only keep ones with my name. It hurts too much to see our names together.  I see it every time I write a check.  That I’m OK with.  It’s interesting what makes us each feel good or bad.  Steve had his fav movies and I have the DVD's.  Sometimes I catch them on TV.  Sometimes I can handle it, sometimes I pass.  I still have our answering machine message of both of us taking.  People really like it.  I have to grab the phone before it triggers as it’s hard for me to hear him.  He wrote the script.  The times I’ve missed beating the machine are tough.  😓

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15 hours ago, nashreed said:

I like having things she used, she touched, her DNA. Not creepy, just trying to keep connected

I totally get it and understand.  I have George's bathrobe, his fishing vest, his dress vest (he was proud of it, Norwegian/hand stitched), some of his sweaters.  I'd given his wallet and suede coat (we had matching) to my son-in-law and now he's left the family.  :(  I still have one of his hats, it took me nine years to give his best friend his fishing hat, he cried when I gave it to him.  I was quick to get rid of anything work related as I feel they played a huge part in his death.

I still wear his ring, on my right hand now because it's too big for my left and it's cost prohibitive to resize again.  I have so many things he's given to me...

I have the dish he threw his pocket stuff onto every night, it still has things on it.  I threw out the toiletries...it wasn't his colognes I loved, it was HIS smell, and that's long gone...

 

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Oh yeah......I miss Steve’s smell.  It plays such a huge roll in attraction between people.  It’s a primal thing.

dated guys brimming in looks, charm, really nice.  But if the chemistry isn’t there, it is empty.  I saw Steve before I got close to him.  Didn’t like his arrogance being a band singer who knew women liked and wanted.  But when I decided what the heck, I was bored, his touch and smell never released me.  He was the one. 

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I have a bottle of Annette's perfume that somehow leaked out or evaporated. Now, I have to get a bottle. I want to be able to spray it around. It's so sad her clothes, blanket, pillowcase don't smell like her anymore. It makes me sad. All I try to do is keep her memory alive in my little ways. I even hung our stockings (we never did actually put anything in them). Christmas is gonna suck. I really could do without it. I despise Christmas music.

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I know, TMI, but I could inhale George's scent!  I actually preferred w/o cologne as I wanted to smell HIM.  If I wanted Old Spice, I could buy a bottle!

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Not TMI.  We know what you’re talking about.  We’re not talking BO, we’re talking their unique scent.  Steve’s once favorite aftershave would trigger me.  I don’t smell the bottle in his cabinet.  He gave up that stuff years before he died.  His skin and hair were uniquely him.  Just like everyone.  The closest I have now is his leather jacket.  That is because I associate it’s smell to him.  He told me that about me.  I gave up perfumes too but he knew my scent.  It’s a powerful attractant.  Like I said elsewhere, I dated some awesome guys, but they didn’t have 'it'. 

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I never had that with anyone else either.  I think it was HIM I was attracted to, it wasn't what I'd call love at first sight, but everything about him, drew me to him, everything he said, how he handled things, his hard earned wisdom, his abundant caring heart, and the looks/physique seemed to follow closely.  ;)

I swear, he could have looked like Dracula and I still would have been attracted to him!  It was the inner him that drew me the most.

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That's sweet. I don't know if it was love at first sight with Annette, but I knew I had to get to know her. She had a presence that was so unique. 

It was my second job at Taco Bell. I was a geeky, awkward, uncoordinated basket case and she was a shift leader. She was fascinated by me too. She called me after a few weeks to let me know how bad of an employee I was :). That was the cover story anyway (I WAS terrible), but she looked up my number in my file, and just wanted to talk to me. 

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Before I decided to dive into Steve, I was fully aware of his looks.  Problem was, so was he.  But it worked out as that gave me time to size him up a little more.  At least as much as you can as a hormonal 20 something.  I guess I may have appeared shallow, but I went for lookers.  Think most women (and men) did.  I can think of only one guy who was kinda out there, but I was 19 and rebellious.  He was 29 and I didn’t put together still being at the university was a hunting ground thing for him.  But...I did learn a lot from him about men’s wants it otherwise would have taken years.  What a crazy time our learning about who we are that time was.  I look back on things I did I think are nuts or dangerous now.  But we know it all back then, right?

i now understand all the stuff my elders said I blew off.  What could they know?  All the stuff I know now that someone that age would blowoff.  What I treasure is Steve and I went thru the decades learning together.  Good and bad.  Deep and superficial.  When we hit our 50’s and I started the female decline and he got the 'distinguished' part, I used to remind him they had it easier.  It’s what made me so sad when cancer ravaged him.  Not only my truest love, but such a commanding man.  That I when I found out what you are saying, Kay.  It didn't matter.  Love is love.  In my eyes he will always be that man.

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Too true. It's funny how Annette said I looked so much better at 50 then when we met. Of course, then I was a super skinny nerd, and now I have a gut and am overweight. I would never have gotten another girl if it hadn't been for her, I was so awkward. 

Gwen, I know you said Steve was a musician, but did he record anything?, with a band? I love obscure 80's music- the more obscure, the more fun! 

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Steve recorded lots of stuff.  Covers of existing songs, things he wrote, other members wrote.  He tended towards folk, but they did country and a bit of rock.  We have a professional recording studio attached to he house.  That is why I miss all the sound and practices.  He played at parties if asked.  I sang with them on occasion, but I had to have a drink or two usually.  Have recordings of mine too. It’s very hard to go from all that creativity to this silence.  I hate even going out there now.  All his guitars and bass are with who he bequeathed them to.  It was used for a couple years after his death, but people moved on without him as the leader.  Making music elsewhere.  I, however, am stuck here without.....the leader.  I have his favorite acoustic guitar.  The guys hung it on the wall for me.  I gave them all the guitar strings and other stuff they could use.  But it sits. Ready for use it won’t have.  The las time I was in there was to put Ally’s bowl, collar and condolence cards with our other dogs.  He was a true dog dad and has a shelf with all of their bowls and memories.

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37 minutes ago, Gwenivere said:

Steve recorded lots of stuff.  Covers of existing songs, things he wrote, other members wrote.  He tended towards folk, but they did country and a bit of rock.  We have a professional recording studio attached to he house.  That is why I miss all the sound and practices.  He played at parties if asked.  I sang with them on occasion, but I had to have a drink or two usually.  Have recordings of mine too. It’s very hard to go from all that creativity to this silence.  I hate even going out there now.  All his guitars and bass are with who he bequeathed them to.  It was used for a couple years after his death, but people moved on without him as the leader.  Making music elsewhere.  I, however, am stuck here without.....the leader.  I have his favorite acoustic guitar.  The guys hung it on the wall for me.  I gave them all the guitar strings and other stuff they could use.  But it sits. Ready for use it won’t have.  The las time I was in there was to put Ally’s bowl, collar and condolence cards with our other dogs.  He was a true dog dad and has a shelf with all of their bowls and memories.

I'm sorry. Nothing on a record though? It's sad that the studio isn't being used. That would have been very cool to have seen. I always wanted to be an engineer or sound guy. Alas, no college, no opportunity.

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When II met George he'd described himself as "a short fat balding guy, who wouldn't want a guy like that?! :D )  But when he was diagnosed with Diabetes, he hit the track and cut out breads and lost 55 lbs, he had a perfect physique!  And as for his hair, I loved it, his tiny lock that hung down from his bald spot was endearing, I hope he knew how I felt about him, it was tangible, for both of us!

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I'm still feeling so much guilt over leaving his favorite Rocky CDs behind. He loved that set of movies and I feel by leaving them behind, they meant nothing. They can be replaced but I still feel so bad. Plus I can't find his favorite music CD. I was so distraught and so confused. I just wanted to get away asap. 

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