Now I completely understand why, in the two and a half years after my father's death my mother did nothing with his clothes. She didn't need the closet and I suspect she just closed the door and didn't look. I don't intend to die soon, so I can't do that.
David's clothes are in a separate closet in the room nominally known as Cheshire's bedroom. It is the third, smallest bedroom in which Cheshire's furniture and belongings not yet claimed live. She sleeps there when she visits, and it is a very convenient guest room at other times.
David took over the room, installed the old desk he had given me as a wedding present, set up a computer and used it to write in. Later, when health information multiplied, divided, and procreated, he organized information, prescriptions, gadgets, and recipes in and around the desk.
And now, it is time for me to clean it up.
Cheshire and I had removed clothes from David's drawers last year. Easy stuff, underwear, jeans, old sweaters, and the chatski of life. I am not sure why that was relatively easy to do and the closet was so hard. But it was. I am not going to hazard a guess. A theory.
So, I bagged work and casual shirts, cleaned and pressed, pants, better sweaters, shoes, jackets, ties, and suits. The suit that David was intending to wear to our nephew's wedding, the wedding that we missed because David was already in the hospital during his last hospital stay, hung cleaned and in its plastic envelope. Probably on the same hook that he has put it. I folded it all in half and slipped it into black bags.
I paused as I folded that last clean suit and a blue tie that he particularly liked. Should he have been dressed in those after he died, for his cremation? I vaguely remember the decision not to. To use a shroud. Now, I hope that someone, with a wedding to go to, finds that suit and pairs it with the tie.
All in bags now. In the trunk of my car. Headed for St Vinnie's. I know some of the clothes could have been sold or at least given to a consignment shop. I have no heart for that. None at all.
I left just a little -- an old jean jacket that David didn't wear anymore but was part of our NYC life and his leather jacket that weighs a ton and was his winter jacket whenever he could get away with it. And his light robe. Maybe I will get rid of these too in time.
When I first thought about getting rid of stuff, of cleaning after David's death, I thought I could do a clean sweep. I thought I could do everything once. Go through clothes, books, papers, and the rest just once. Purge, save, label. Once again, I have been humbled by my brand of naivete that surfaces over and over. Nothing is done once. At least, by me. It is layers. Onions, ogres, and me.
And today, that means 6 black plastic bags of clothes, and one garbage bag full of medical information that David no longer needs.