I finally cleaned out your closet yesterday. It was actually easy to sort through the clothes I wanted to keep. Your familiar sweaters and favorite jeans looked as comfortable on the hangers as they did on your body.
I know you were never a fan of “keeping stuff to keep stuff” so I did my best at creating piles: one for me, one for Good Will, and one for some well dressed friend that might like your brand new, never worn Dunhill shirts and pants. I bought those for you right after the boys were born. I loved shopping for you. You hated that your pant size was constantly decreasing.
I expected that it would be hard to clean out your closet. Every time I opened the door to it, I gently flipped through your clothes until I came across an item that you wore all the time – your blue Patagonia, your perfectly soft yet crisp button down...I would find myself clutching the arm of your shirt staring ahead blankly and wondering how empty and far away the clothes feel. You once walked into the room with such vitality and glimmer. It makes sense, I suppose, that your closet is empty now too.
With each jean pocket, blazer pocket, and backpack, I found myself checking for treasures that you may have left behind. One more chance to find something of yours I had never seen – a note to me, a receipt from a dinner we shared, a movie ticket stub, perhaps. Your jean pockets felt like they might contain something and I got excited too hastily. A stash of catheters you used toward the end was the only thing hidden in your jeans. Opening up your hockey bag, I thought for sure I would find something good to save for the boys. Nope - just a dozen or so of those morphine lollipop sticks. Painful mementos of your suffering…It made closing the door to your closet a little easier.
I went to sleep last night thinking heavily about your empty closet. But, this morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise and the boys in my arms. And, when I opened my closet door, I saw the beautiful reminders of you – your colorful Hermes ties making my morning a little brighter.