On this second anniversary of my husband’s death, I’ve made an unplanned purge of his belongings. Our church’s rummage sale, first canceled due to the virus, then reinstated a few months later, prompted me to do it.

Just two years and two days ago, Marv directed our daughter to take his cords to our church’s rummage sale being held that week. “I won’t be needing them,” he said, aware that he would not be wearing his winter corduroy jeans again.

The announcement for the rummage sale made me think about what Marv would say if he knew I still had his other clothes. Yes, they were tucked away in his dresser that I rarely opened, and his hanging clothes I’d moved from his side of the closet to behind the door on my side, so everything was out of sight, but I still had them. I’d tried to give them away to family members, but none was the right size. I could hear Marv demanding to know, “Why would you keep them when you know someone could use them?”

Another thing that prompted my purge was a friend calling me late on the morning of her husband’s death. During the conversation, she said, “I’ve already cleared out his side of our bathroom vanity.” I felt myself grimace and grin simultaneously as I pictured Marv’s cologne displayed by his sink and most of his toiletries in the drawers of his side of the vanity.

Enough is enough, I told myself. I began the purge. Piled up suits, sport jackets, trousers, jeans, dress shirts, belts, ties, shoes, ancient cowboy boots, sport T-shirts, cargo shorts, and socks on the bed. My daughter brought over new moving boxes. I piled the clothes into one box, along with miscellany of Marv’s that neither I nor my children wanted.

Then I couldn’t budge the box from its resting place. I assembled a second box, divided the load, and carried out a ceremonial outing to drop off some things to our Christian School thrift shop and the rest to my church’s rummage sale.

Then, a new problem! A completely empty dresser I didn’t need. Just like that, I decided to sell the whole set, which included a king-size headboard. If I sold that, I might as well get rid of the king size bed that had been feeling way too big for some time. Just that fast, I gave that away.

Those impulsive actions necessitated a trip to buy a queen size bed and headboard. Those are on order. Shelves in my closet can serve as dresser drawers.

The mattress and spring have been picked up already; my local married grandson is buying my bedroom set and will pick up next week. I’m happy he’s taking it, because it was my first and only beautifully new and matching bedroom set.

For many years, we’d had unfinished furniture that I stained and later painted. Our original dresser from 1962 still stands in my youngest granddaughter’s closet; my original baby dressers, from the late sixties, one still painted with blue drawers for my son and the other with red drawers for my daughter, are still in use at her home.

Now, my bedroom is almost empty, raising the question–should I shampoo the four-year-old carpeting before a new bed is delivered? Or would it be prudent to replace it before another heavy piece of furniture gets placed on it? There are some serious signs of wearing in the walkways…

You see where this is going. It’s like when you start renovating one room and the project grows. I’m sure Marv would be happy to see that I’m making these changes. He’d told me, “I’m the one who’s dying. Not you. So, you go on living.”

With that thought in mind, this blog post will be the last of my almost monthly series on Grief. As it pertains, I’ll write on grieving again, but mostly I’ll be digging up other topics for this blog, while I continue revising the book I’m writing about our experience with Marv’s small cell lung cancer.

Thank you for following along! I pray that God will be with you…through whatever you are facing, just as God was with me during the seven months of Marv’s diagnosis, dying, and death. And has continued to be with me during these first two years of starting over.

Taken 7/4/18. Died 7/25/18.