The very first morning after Jacob had passed away I began to get rid of things that hurt to look at. Not his personal belongings but all of the medical things that reminded me of how sick he was and this was not the way I wanted to remember him. I thought I was doing ok until I saw his toothbrush sitting in the bathroom shelf. That was when I lost it. I threw it away as he had no need for it anymore but that little brush was his, he’d held it in his hands, kept his teeth clean, travelled with him to hospital yet it had begun to show it’s warn out age with the bristles looking worse for ware but it broke my heart to through it out. I threw it in the bin blinking back the tears in sobs.
People would tell me not to sort out his stuff just yet and wait till the time felt right. What is right? It was all totally wrong. I’d never been in this situation before as far as I knew I was just winging it. I got myself in a state when I couldn’t find a certain t-shirt and tracky-dacks he’d wear during treatment and I accompanied him to every hospital stay. He looked so handsome in his Nike Yankees black t-shirt that he bought on our last family holiday together – Hawaii. I never did find it and I think that we must have left it in a plastic bag for washing at one of his hospital stays, never to be seen again. I have to be thankful that I’ve got many photos of him wearing my favourite t-shirts.
One of his close friends took home Jacob’s pair of sunglasses to wear proudly as he thought of his mate and another friend took several pairs of his size 13 colourful converse high tops. Jacob’s straw hat is perched on his memorial shelf along with his eye patch (the treatment caused Jacob to have double vision) and wallet with his drivers licence still in its slot. Rachel’s partner Adam thankfully took some of Jacob’s clothes as they had similar style in clothes and size and I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see him wearing them. I kept the clothes that made me smile when I held them close drawing them in for a hug and snuggle, I just wish his scent would stay over time. His other clothes I gave to charity to be sent overseas to an underprivileged village along with unopened medical supplies that couldn’t be given back to the hospital pharmacy. With this exchange of personal belongings it felt good for purging with good intent. In a suitcase in my bedroom I keep a handful of clothes of Jacob’s that I can’t get rid of. I just look over them from time to time when I empty them out on my bed to repack the suitcase for an upcoming holiday.
I have another old hard black plastic school bag in my cupboard. The ones you used to sit on like a horse in the bus line at school waiting for that lift home. In this school bag contains lots of my children drawings, cards and presents they’d made for me for all the celebrated events over the years. I guess I’m what you call a hoarder in these regards to these treasures. I even have the letters that my husband had written to me before we were married when I was living away for nursing.
The things I do relish in throwing out to turn a new leaf is clothes I never wear anymore from my cupboard. I look at garments on the hangers and say if I lost a few kilos I might wear that again – but I’ve been saying this particular statement for as long as I can remember so it’s really time they went in the charity bin. When it comes to throwing out and decluttering my children’s belonging that’s when I feel like Jessie singing her song in ‘Toy Story 2’ – when she loved me. Why does physically holding on to memories have to be so hard?
Clearing out physical space creates an intentional vacuum for fresh, new life. I would love to declutter my house and really decide as I held an object like a vase, or trinket box close to my heart as I asked myself the question in my head – does it bring joy? All of Jacob’s belongings bring joy 💕 ……and heartache.