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it's the small stuff that gets me everytime, "normal " or denial?

(22 Posts)
Onlyjoking Mon 08-Sep-08 21:44:31

today it is 13 weeks since steve died, i always find mondays hard and am always tearful at 10.30 am, so i decided to do some sorting decluttering and tidying.
it was so bloody hard i sat sobbing holding his shaver not sure what to do with it, it upsets me when i see it but i can't bring myself to move it out of sight the same with his toothbrush.
i tried to sort all the coatpegs out but couldn't do it cos his coats are there.
then i decided to sort out some drawers and came accross my 40th birthday card from Steve and another card he wrote to say thankyou for sticking by him sad
it seems that there are bits of him everywhere and i don't want to erase him but it upsets me to see his things, not sure if this is all "normal" or denial that he has gone?

cathcat Mon 08-Sep-08 21:56:17

OJ, I don't think that there are any rules here, any normal or not normal. I think you should do what you feel is right. I had the card from my friend's memorial service up on my bookcase for a year before I felt I could take it down. Why not gather some things up and put them in a box so you know where they are. It can't be easy if you see them and they upset you so have a compromise where they are out of sight but near to hand.
It is really special to find cards that Steve has written for you, this happened to me too after my friend died. Treasure them for the love you shared. Keep them very safe. All best wishes.

jura Mon 08-Sep-08 21:57:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TotalChaos Mon 08-Sep-08 21:58:35

I agree with cathcat - that there's no normal, particularly so soon after steve died. Not been through an experience like yours but certainly with relatives that have died I've always found it's like waves of grief - it ebbs and flows - and small details (x would have liked that, y used to go here) that can be most upsetting.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Mon 08-Sep-08 22:02:00

Take your time OJ. Could you have a halfway house? Tidy some stuff up but put it in a box and store somewhere safe. Then it's nearby but not there everytime you turn around.

It must be so hard xx

cyteen Mon 08-Sep-08 22:02:35

Don't even start worrying about what name you 'should' give these feelings OJ. It doesn't matter. The small details are always devastating, at least IME. One of the worst, most painful memories I have of my brother's final week in hospital was looking back over my shoulder as I was following his trolley down to the operating theatre, and seeing his glasses lying on the bedside table, all vulnerable out of their case.

Give yourself time to feel whatever you feel and do whatever you need to do, or not. Lots of love to you and the children x

Hassled Mon 08-Sep-08 22:04:08

13 weeks is no time at all. There will be a time when you do feel ready and able, and you're clearly not there yet. It was 2 years after my Dad died that my stepmother got rid of his clothes etc - don't try to rush things.

Re the more immediately upsetting stuff like the toothbrush - could you move them gradually, so first into a box in the bathroom and then when you're ready take the box elsewhere? It doesn't matter how ridiculous it sounds - just do what you feel able to do.

Onlyjoking Mon 08-Sep-08 22:22:53

i have tried to put some things away but i just can't do it, i still sleep with his tee-shirt quilt and pillow and they feel comforting and don't upset me at all, i am not trying to rush myself i know it will take time in some ways i don't want to put his stuff away but then i get upset seeing his things around, the girls put one of our holiday dvds on the other day and i had to go sit in the garden it was too painful to hear his voice and not be able to touch him.

Hassled Mon 08-Sep-08 22:27:19

I'm so sorry you're feeling like this.

Sycamoretree Mon 08-Sep-08 22:53:22

OJ - you won't really know me or remember me - probably about 6 months ago we both got very cross on a thread where someone seemed to suggest that a person could "fight" their cancer - like somehow if you died you hadn't fought enough - anyway, I only mention it so you don't think I've popped up out of nowhere on such a personal thread.

It's hardly comparable to losing your husband, especially with a young family, but I lost my dad to cancer in February and it I can only say it is the small stuff that inevitably gets you because the intimacy of your relationship is in the detail. For me, going into my emails at work to do some tidying up and finding special ones I'd saved from dad when he was travelling. Overtaking a cyclist and giving them a wide berth (dad was a very enthusiastic cyclist), finding a box of oxo cubes bought from the corner shop with a corner shop price ticket on, because he started to want to drink stuff like bovril when his taste buds went strange - we don't use it. Coming across his handwritten address in my address book - going to call my mum and the digital address book coming up with mum and dad. All of these things reduced me to a crumpled wreck.

I think you had to find your own way with clearing away stuff, but don't feel it's disloyal. Steve would have wanted you to do whatever you needed to do to move forward and stay strong. If that means getting rid of the stuff that is tripping you up every day then you should do it. My mum thought she'd do it immediately, then couldn't do it at all. Finally, she just got scared she'd never do it and we all went over and had a blitz.

It's six months on now. For the first time since his death, we were at mums house and we had a happy day, a genuinely great family day that didn't include dad. My sister and her babe, my two LO's etc. When the babes woke up from their naps, we ended up in the room dad had spent most of his last weeks in, and they all started bouncing around on the bed, and the babies were giggling and the toddlers were laughing hysterically and in that moment, I saw my dad, and how happy he would have been to see this breakthrough, and that the room was happy again.

This is a way off for you I know, but I tell the story in the hope that you will get strength from it, and know that in your future there will come a day like this, when it feels like you are on the way to mending as a family. Love and luck to you.

Evenstar Mon 08-Sep-08 23:25:21

OJ I too have struggled with this, I have been in tears over shower gels from a hotel where we had a lovely weekend in May, DH's toothbrush, his toiletries in the bathroom cupboard, his reading glasses and those are only the things that come immediately to mind. I truly believe that this is totally normal, I have put some of DH's things away on the advice of a friend who is a bereavement counsellor, they are in a special box and if I want them they are there. I have not got rid of anything other than essentials like the car, it is too soon and my neighbour who is a widow of 31 years said I should not rush into clearing away things, I must feel ready in myself. If it is giving you pain think about boxing some things but if you are not ready then don't,follow your own instincts. It is still very early days for you, and whenever I feel a sudden urge to clear anything I hold back until I am sure it is what I want. Thinking of you xx

solodad Tue 09-Sep-08 07:54:45

OJ and Evenstar,

I'm at 17 months down this road, and still can't move some of these bits and pieces. Shampoo and conditioner in the shower-still there.Make-up and perfume-still in our bedroom. Hair scrunchie-everywhere. I am sure there are many more little reminders around the place. Don't worry you are normal.

Take care both of you

Solodad and The Boys xxx

DadInsteadofMum Wed 10-Sep-08 22:20:10

Just coming up to 14 weeks for we

The big things I can cope with (generally see them coming and are prepared).

The little things, an unexpected reminder a first from the kids or they say something funny with nobody to tell.

Having been lurking in this area for a while taking comfort from the fact that I am not alone in this situation and that what I am feeling is normal.

So I guess OJ and ES we are being normal in an abnormal situation.

The only stuff I have cleared away is anything to do with her illness, everything else is still there.

DadInsteadofMum Wed 10-Sep-08 22:20:37

Just coming up to 14 weeks for we

The big things I can cope with (generally see them coming and are prepared).

The little things, an unexpected reminder a first from the kids or they say something funny with nobody to tell.

Having been lurking in this area for a while taking comfort from the fact that I am not alone in this situation and that what I am feeling is normal.

So I guess OJ and ES we are being normal in an abnormal situation.

The only stuff I have cleared away is anything to do with her illness, everything else is still there.

AbbeyA Wed 10-Sep-08 22:41:42

It is very hard and early days.
It is very normal.
I slept with an old shirt of my DHs for a whole year after he died. He died suddenly in an accident and I didn't see a body and so it took several years to really accept it. I used to expect him to come walking up the drive!
Don't do anything until you feel ready to do it.
I just used to concentrate on getting through one day at a time; a bit like a battle.
You won't believe it now, but it eventually gets easier. You will always have your good memories. It takes time and there is no easy way. My very best wishes.

chapstickchick Wed 10-Sep-08 22:55:38

i cant read all these post(i cry) please forgive me if im repeating what others have said but i think its entirely understandable i dont think u should put steves stuff away yet let the children see them around and gradually you will condense them.....my dh lost his mum almost 13 years ago he thinks i havent noticed but her glasses are still on his desk sad and her dresing gown (worn by all of us on various occasions) is really quite threadbare and raggy and behind the bathroom door.

my childrens godmother lost her own dad as a small child and her mum to this day keeps his coat and hat on a peg behind the door.

a friend of mine who lost her teenge son cannot bring herself to wash the last few dirty clothes of his in the laundry basket cos thats it once its washed its never gonna be used again.

OJ i feel such sympathy yet feel such tremendous respect for you that its feeble to even offer you advice,im thinking of you all xx

Evenstar Wed 10-Sep-08 23:43:47

I saw DH's wallet in a drawer this morning and that set me off again. Sorry for your loss DadInsteadofMum, hope that you will feel able to come in and join us now, we do have a support thread I will bump it up again, perhaps we can chat there.

dizzydixies Wed 10-Sep-08 23:52:07

sad oj, I started a very similar thread a week ago - its not only you and its not denial. You need to take time to heal, a lot of time and a lot of support

here this doesn't need a post or response, just to show you an example

thinking of you and the kids

DadInsteadofMum Thu 11-Sep-08 00:09:40

ES thanks for the bump, have been lurking there for a while, and for now I will continue to lurk unless I have something to say. OJ's post just touched a nerve so delurked briefly. Thanks for the thought.

AbbeyA Thu 11-Sep-08 07:55:50

I apologise if this has already been mentioned somewhere or you already know about it, but there is an organisation for those who are widowed young this page

I wish that it had been around when I was widowed because you feel very alone. I found my real lifeline was meeting other widows locally and having people who were living through the same thing, they understood and we were able to support each other.

RubyRioja Thu 11-Sep-08 08:15:18

So sad OJ.

I think it is the most trivial and yet personal items that slay you when going about yoru business. As everyone says, such early days yet.

I did as hassled suggested and gradually boxed some things up, and they have gradually migrated into storage. Other things are still used daily, for no good reason really.

I believe Queen Victoria slept with Albert's dressing gown until she died. I think completely normal to cling to anythign you can

Onlyjoking Sat 13-Sep-08 20:51:20

Thanks for all your kind words, have found it difficult to re read this thread, so sorry to see others have been or are in the same boat Dadinsteadofmum, thanks for popping out of lurkdom to post, i hadn't thought of it until you mentioned it but i have got rid of the stuff that was anything to do with steves cancer and i didn't find it too hard apart from when they took his hospital bed back, i still have the file with all the nursing nots in for his last 9 weeks, i can't read it yet but maybe on day i will.

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