How Much Is It Worth To You?

The healing continues. It has been four months now since I lost my husband.

I wanted to share a recent realization: I have never been more aware of how little material things mean to me at this point in my life.

It probably started with the removal of items that belonged to my husband. His clothes, personal effects. At first, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Shortly after he died, I tried to bundle up a bunch of his shirts to take to a charity. As I did so, I buried my face into the bundle and could smell his cologne. I hugged the bundle tighter and I cried silent tears into the pile of shirts. I hung them back up in the closet and promised myself I’d try again soon.

The second time I tried to remove the clothing his fragrance no longer lingered there, but my heart did, and it tugged at me, as I placed his things into the trunk of the car. I remember being annoyed at the lady who greeted me at the counter. My bottom lip quivered as I handed my precious cargo over to her. She didn’t even look up as she unceremoniously picked them up and tossed them onto a sorting table. She simply asked if I wanted a receipt. Somehow, I expected her to come around to my side of the counter and give me a big hug and say something like “I’m so sorry for your loss. This must be so hard for you.”

And now, four months later, I get it. I have accepted the fact that he is gone and he’s not coming back. And with that realization comes the added realization that holding on to things will not bring him back either. And with that, comes the “purging”. Having spoken to a couple of friends who have lost their spouse, I have determined that I’m not alone in this.  I have given away $100’s of dollars worth of stuff without a second thought. It means nothing to me. How odd. These things were once so important. Now, they’re of no use to me and must go as I “re-brand” myself and figure out my new life.

As I pondered this today, a wonderful memory flooded my senses. I was taking a walk and the wonderful fall air renewed my spirit. My Dad came to mind. His chase of the material things went on for many, many years — but it was in the later years of his life that I enjoyed some of my best times with him. Simpler times.

“Susiebell? Are you there? This is Dad. Wanted you to know that it’s harvest time!” Would take me about 30 minutes to make the drive between our home and Dad’s modest mobile home in Petaluma. And there it would be. His tiny vegetable garden and perhaps three or four potato plants. He saved them for me to “harvest”, because he knew I enjoyed that so much! I can still smell that earthy smell, and still feel that surge of joy as I would reach deep into the planter box and pull out a tiny potato. Dad and I would laugh as I held up my prize for him to see, and then continue our search for more. Now those were RICH times!

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About susansplace

Widowed in 2012, I am a mother and grandmother. Born in San Francisco, I now live in the town I grew up in: Mill Valley, California. I love nature photography. Just an amateur but that's OK! My goal: world peace. Got any ideas?
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5 Responses to How Much Is It Worth To You?

  1. Laura says:

    Love that story!

  2. Hard stuff. When I came home from the hospital after having given birth to my full-term, overdue daughter, all her things were gone. My husband and his sister had packed up all those fingered treasures, fingered for months in anticipation, and put them in the garage, thinking it would be easier on me. It was going to be hard either way, but touching them and saying goodbye was needed. Touching and smelling is part of saying goodbye.

    Today on the way out of first service, a friend we hadn’t seen in a while stopped to say hi. He let us know that they just found out his wife has liver cancer. She survived breast cancer, and even as lately as Feb. had been given a clean bill of health. But here it is again. As he broke in sobs, I felt such sorrow for him. Us at the same time are anxiously awaiting news of my son’s new little daughter’s arrival in the air-breathing world. Such highs and lows of life. It is the people that matter, not the things. Too bad it takes so long for us to really get that. May your sorrow be tooled by the Master to something more valuable than stuff.

    Sorry for rambling…

  3. Bev says:

    I have GOOSEYS!!! (That’s J Lo’s expression for goose bumps !!) Thanks, Sue, for your beautiful words…. As always….

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