I spent this past weekend inside purging. It had nothing to do with the New Year and everything to do with the weather. It was cold, as in I didn't think I was in Arizona anymore cold. Our lows were in the mid 20's F and our highs were in the upper 40's F. For us desert dwellers that is C O L D!!! I had planned to do yard work (i.e. aloe) but just couldn't make myself be outside. So instead I decided to clean out the closets in the spare bedrooms.
TJ was quite the pack rat and if you have read my blog for a while you have heard me complain about this. Well, after he died I needed to move and quickly. I could not afford the house we were in and needed something that fit into my budget. I went through the house halfheartedly and had a yard sale but many of the boxes he had around I just moved to the new house and hid them away in the closets of the spare rooms. Out of sight, out of mind. That isn't totally true, I knew I needed to go through them, but it was easier to ignore them when I couldn't see them. I was also concerned that having boxes stacked in dark closets was a haven for scorpions and black widows and this was somewhat bothersome. So this past weekend I emptied everything out of the closets in both spare bedrooms and went through each box meticulously. I sorted everything into piles...Goodwill....trash....give to someone....keep....etc. It was a daunting task and took me 2 full days. To be totally honest I cried through most of it.
A big concern of TJ's after his diagnosis was what would become of his "stuff". Like most of us, his stuff was important to him. He and I talked extensively about where he wanted his stuff to go. I have tried hard to stick to his wishes. I gave his nice boots to a friend that had the same size feet. I have doled out his cowboy hats to special friends over the past years and some of his hats are in my current home as decoration. His chaps, spurs and spur straps hang in the spare bedroom that I call "The Cowboy Room" as decoration. But these boxes I had to go through were just stuff. Not special stuff in my opinion and it was hard to decide what TJ would want me to do with it. I was surprised that after 3 years it would be so damn hard.
I had many pictures of us hung up in the old house and not knowing what to do with them when I moved I just plastered them on the walls of my office. I took them all down this weekend....all of them....gone. I have an enclosed patio that is covered in pictures of my friends and TJ is in some of those, but the wedding pictures and those of just us that I hung in the office are now gone. I put everything of his that I wanted to keep in a plastic tote. One tote. Our life together is now stowed away in one plastic tote.
When I woke Sunday morning my first thought was "he is gone, he is really gone". I have put him in a plastic tote in the closet....he is gone! I cried, I sobbed and I felt the pain of losing him all over again. But, instead of staying in bed all day like I used to I got up, showered, and loaded my truck with the stuff for Goodwill and the trash to put in the dumpsters at work. I moved forward. I moved forward like I have been doing for 3 years now. I didn't expect it, but some days it is still just a matter of one foot in front of the other.
I believe there are people who cross our lives in tiny fractions of time, in the briefest of encounters, and yet they leave an indelible mark in our hearts and our minds. Thank you TJ.