A small, easy task, right?
Not when it was my husband’s night stand.
See, my nightstand is small and now I have to keep the alarm clock, flashlight, TV remotes, etc. on it. All of the things that were on my husband’s side of the bed. So I decided to move his larger nightstand to my side and push the bed over just about a foot for it to fit.
I kept putting it off, but was getting tired of having to roll over the entire bed, not to mention several members of the four footed furry brigade, to turn off the alarm in the morning. So finally I did it. It took about 20 minutes to move everything and about 4 hours to calm down.
Because just that little alteration put me into a full blown panic attack.
I’ve never had a panic attack before, but I know people who have and it was just as they described it. Heart beating so fast I thought it would explode out of my chest. Can’t catch my breath. My vision went blurry and wavy. A roaring filled my ears.
All because I rearranged the bedroom, just a little bit.
It was all I could do to stop myself from immediately putting everything back to the way it was. I sat down and told myself over and over that it was okay.
It was as if by rearranging his side of the bedroom, I was erasing him.
It scared me.
This was the first thing I changed since my husband died. I even sleep on my side of the bed, with his side still tucked in. Although the four footed furry brigade has no problem taking up his whole side of the bed. But then again, they did that when he was alive so no change there.
All of the ‘experts’ say that it takes time. Don’t rush into changing things, giving away his clothes, etc. But they never say why. No one told me that such a simple thing would shatter me for half a day. In fact, if my husband were alive and I needed to switch the nightstands, he would have helped me move things around.
But irrationally my brain couldn’t or wouldn’t process it.
One thing that most people don’t talk about is the strange way of thinking that bombards you after the sudden death of a spouse.
For instance, I am incapable of throwing anything away that my husband once touched. I know that keeping an empty bottle of soy sauce is a little strange because throwing it away will not diminish my memories or feelings for my husband, but I want to keep it on the counter where he last placed it.
It’s not like I want to build a shrine to him. But I’m still not ready to move anything…even things like an empty cocoa tin.
And I can understand why. Because, like I said before, throwing it away seems like I’m erasing him bit by bit from this world. First the empty bottle or tin, then his clothes, his papers, etc. until little by little all that he touched and used would be gone from this world.
Logically, my brain is telling me that he no longer is connected to any of those items and that soon, even traces of his DNA will fade and be gone. But the rest of me refuses to let it go.
Luckily, I am in the position where I can keep his things the way they were when he was last here. I don’t need to sell my property, which, unfortunately, many widows have to do, and I now live alone so his items are not in anyone’s way.
So, I am not going to do anything about his things right now. They can stay exactly as he left them until I am ready.
Even the empty bottle on the counter.