Preparing for the Purge

Dearest Rachel –

I was going to start this week off by dealing with the fact that I have a number of thank you notes to write for those that came to your funeral, and those that gave to Camp Awana, and so forth. I was going to compare it to what happened to us after our wedding, and what I’m trying to do to avoid that.

But there is the important, and there is the urgent.

And this is urgent.

Jan will be here tomorrow, and I fully expect she will be an absolute whirlwind with regard to clearing things out of here. And as you know, I’m worried about what she’ll be having me just… throw out. Now, I know you won’t be using any of this stuff, so it shouldn’t bother me like this. But I also know you’d want a lot of this stuff to get a good home, and not end up in a landfill. Or at the very least, to be turned into something else useful (I’ll talk about the quilting project another time, among other things).

So I’m trying to move out what I can – or perhaps should – get out of the house before so much just gets… purged.

The folks have offered to serve as a holding location for your clothes, in particular. I’ve not heard the best things about Goodwill (something like 80% of the stuff donated there gets thrown out? Jan wasn’t familiar with the stat, and she would know better, but I’m still just a little suspicious), but they tell me that Pacific Garden Mission would be happy to have much of what you’ve left behind. Why, they’ll even pick up most of it from the house!

So, this morning, when Chompers woke up thirsty and uncomfortable just before 6 this morning, I took it as an opportunity. Granted, I’m still annoyed that he won’t let me shower without barking like mad – although Daniel was willing to go to him and murmur high-pitched unintelligibilities in his ear to calm him down somewhat – but once he was fed and settled down, I had time to fill garbage bags with your clothes. Dresses in one – oh, I remember that tie-dyed one we picked up in St. Maartin that was such a puzzle for you to step into, but so beautiful – skirts in another, tops in another, and Christmas stuff, so much Christmas stuff.

And of course, the T-shirts. I’d mentioned previously how many you had, and how you had hand-picked these to demonstrate your personality, your beliefs and opinions, your fandoms.

We just got this from Hot Topic after Christmas: You never got a chance to wear it.
And so you shall, my dearest. One more time, to stay forever.

One of our friends suggested making a quilt of them all in your memory, and apparently Jen actually knows someone who does that sort of thing. And since my grandmother’s old quilt was getting threadbare – to the point where even you were commenting about it over this past winter – it seemed like the perfect solution

A half-dozen bags – and so many tears – later, I finally drove everything I had for now over to the folks, where everything is now resting securely under the white table in their basement, within sight of my office computer so I can put this letter together for you.

As I drove over here, I couldn’t help being reminded of Jerry Seinfeld – of all people – and his routine about how life is nothing more than a series of moves: from the hospital to your parents’ place (and what moves they might make while you live with them) to college, to your own place, to a place with your spouse, to a place for a family, and maybe a few other relocations along the way. Always needing boxes to store and transport your stuff from place to place (pace Carlin – yeah, the good comedians all stay on the same page, ’cause life’s like that). Until that one day, you make that last move, in that final, really special box, and those fellows you always trusted to help you move before, are now trusted with moving you, as your pallbearers.

I realized now, I was – am – helping you move out.

But I really don’t want to.

Oh, I confess, there is a little piece of me that’s looking forward to a clean house, relatively. One day, Daniel and I could remodel the place – that kitchen is just so inefficient, never mind the mess. The family room and sunroom have the same carpet and paint job as when we moved in over twenty-five years ago. Yeah, I’d like to see it all updated.

But honey, if I could have you back, I’d live in that mess for another hundred years without a single complaint.

I miss you so much. And every stitch reminds me of you.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

6 thoughts on “Preparing for the Purge

  1. Another idea as to what to do with the shirts. When my uncle died, my aunt – who sews, needed some catharsis, and also needed to get rid of some of his stuff – sewed pillows out of his old shirts, and gave them to family. Something to think about…..


  2. Fair idea. Frankly, I find the idea of quilts to be particularly useful, as our bedroom isn’t connected to the main house HVAC (late addition), and tends to be cooler than the rest. So, a few extra quilts would mitigate that, to say nothing of each one covering an aspect of her personality – and yes, there are enough to make several quilts, tbh.


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