A Man Thing

For the last two years I have told people that when Peg dies, and I’m still alive, the first thing I must do is sell this house. Well. Peg died. I’m quickly relearning the difficulty of emptying a house of clutter and unsightly unnecessary junk.  When we moved in here thirteen short years ago the house was empty. I had just sold my old house and everything I owned to start a new life. Peg didn’t follow suit. She insisted on keeping her old house, and did. It wasn’t until four years ago after dementia had taken her memory did I have a chance to finally sell her place. Of course the house was still loaded with her stuff. Keeping her stuff out of our new house was the only way we could live in a modern looking minimalist home. Slowly, the stuff crept into the modern. I ran out of spaces to put things. Our closets were jammed, the space under beds was filled with boxes, the garage was full, even the trunk of her car and the backseat had stuff in it. Of course all the while this creep occurred I was busy in my workshop making dust, and buying more lumber to make my Intarsia pieces. Not to mention a couple of new machines too.

Peg had an attachment to her stuff. She loved clothes and remained the same size all her life, old clothes fit her as well as new. The result was that she had a tremendous inventory of clothes. I tell people that at age eighty-five she still had her prom dress. I promised her that I would not throw anything away or dispose of it in any way without her permission. She never granted me permission. She always said her daughter and grand daughters would use her clothes. Wrong. They have taken a few articles as mementos but the fashions of a forty or sixty something are different than that of an eighty something. After four weeks of sorting, searching, boxing, bagging, and hauling clothes the master bedroom closet is finally finished. When I saw the empty closet for the first time it dawned on me that I have just disposed of my wife. Emptyness overwhelmed me. The finality of her dying had hit home. I had to stop and sit down, I almost cried.

I am donating most of the things to three different organizations: Saint Vincent dePaul Society, NU 2 U, and Neat Repeats. All of them are resale shops that support battered women, poor families, and single parent families. They are happy to see me coming.

The journey on this new adventure will take another eight weeks as I move from room to room purging the unnecessary things from life. The goal is to end up with a house that is ready to show for sale. I’m still not sure what the next step will be, but I trust God will show me the way. I may just pack the Death Star with camping gear and head for Alaska. After Barb died sixteen years ago, I packed the car and went to Arizona for three months. It was there that I finally cried for her. It’s a man thing not to cry.

3 Responses

  1. Having to get rid of mother’s things when she passed was painful for me too. All these things were her life. Father lives with me. I dred ridding the house of his things when he passes. The house will be so silent, dead and empty without him. It’s going to be horrible living alone. I will not sell the house as the mortgage is only $815 a month cheaper than most apartments. My stuff ? I am trying to make a deal with God so I can take it with me.

    • Please let me know how that works out. With my wife Barb, the emptiness drove me nuts. It took months of constant activity before it eased. With Peggy, the emptiness has not hit me yet because I have her caretaker staying with me for 3 months to help me clear the house. Grief is a strange emotion, but a very real one.

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