Friday, September 24, 2010

senseless socks

Photo from here...

One of the biggest lessons I've learned on this journey of widowhood is that grief is not logical. It makes no sense. It's arrogant and naive to believe that we think we know how we would react in any stressful or painful situation. Segments of our lives, portions of our morals and many of our ideals become frayed and scattered.

When we begin to remake our lives, things, us, are decidely different.

I've had people tell me that they would never be able to part with their husband's things should he die before they did. I've had others report to me that they have thought that I am clinging to the past by keeping some of Jeff's belongings. I don't know which camp is right....I just know that there are some things that I had never given a thought to and that now have such meaning....or maybe not 'meaning', just value to me emotionally that I am unable to part with them just yet.
There are items in this home that I will never be able to use, I can't remember a specific moment that signifies importance or that are truly undesirable to anyone besides myself. Logic does not, at all, enter my thoughts in the hoarding of these objects.

The specific thing I am talking of....Jeff's mismatched socks. Can't do it. I don't know if I will EVER get around to discarding them.

They lay tangled in a basket on the shelf above our washing machine with the kids and mine. The only distinguishing factor between the socks is that his are decidely larger....and dirtier. They no longer smell like him. I have never found their mate crammed behind the washing machine or at the bottom of the hamper. So they sit in the missing sock receptacle...and wait.

Everytime I reach into the basket to attempt to match the socks thrown in there at the end of a laundry folding session, I find his single socks. I don't know if it is the symbolism of being left behind, if it is the thought that these are the last of his personal effects that are tied in with our daily lives or if it is just that I can't bring myself to throw out something that holds proof that he walked with us. It's simply not logical.

But the lack of pragmatic thinking does not make me discard them. I still smile inwardly and occasionally shed a tear when I attempt to match his single socks. Because grief, it really makes no sense.


  1. This was very moving! I think we all battle the feelings of what to keep and what to lose physically and emotionally. I think keeping the things that feel good to you are great. Other reminders I have put into storage bins (out of sight out of mind, for now) My two young sons also love the idea of having his things when they grow up so for them it is important to have those items, even if they are mismatched socks. xo

  2. Great post! Thank you very much for the reminder that I am not going crazy it is grief acting out in strange and unorthodox ways. I laughed about the mismatched socks as my husband always teased me about holding onto them waiting for the mate to appear. So for me, after 7 months, I've failed at parting with any of his clothes, tools, socks, etc. that remind me of the simplistic and wonderful life we shared.

  3. I have issues with dirty laundry, too... I have yet to wash the few articles of clothing that Matt left on the floor next to the bed the night before. They're still in the bottom of the hamper- even after a move across the country. I think I'm finally ready to at least put them in a bag to get them out of the hamper so I can start using it.

  4. No one can tell you what you should keep or get rid of. I have keep things for my daughters. Other things I have kept until I could find someone who my know my husband who could appreciate the thing for itself and for the fact that it is a reminder of the fun filled guy they new. Some of these things I gave away right away, but others I am still working on and it has been a year.

  5. The clothes all went but for his Steelers t-shirts which were rendered a quilt.

    There is very little of his stuff/junk still hanging about anymore. The pen on my desk - b/c he was a pen freak and my daughter won't part with it, but otherwise, everything else could fit in a large shoebox or two for the most part.

    In the end - it's just stuff.

  6. I still have the clothes from the hamper that my husband wore the week before he died , minus the "unmentionables". They sit in my closet and I can't bear to wash them and give them away, even after 7 years. I also have the running shoes he wore the night he collapsed from the heart attack. For a long time I kept the shoes in the place that he took them off. Now they are in the place where my family's shoes are kept in the garage. I will always keep those. It's been a slow process letting go of his things, but I work at it, giving to those that need them more than me. It still is difficult though.

  7. Great post! Only we can understand's a year later I haven't been able to part with much of anything. Now the mementos’ that sat in the drawers over the years are out for view....they hold more appreciation and sentimental value now. There is no set time and it's nice to hear others feel the same when dealing with this same thing. Thanks.