Originally uploaded by RLHyde
It is better to give, than to keep. Right?
Today was another day of packing more things into boxes, and placing them into storage. This plan I have, of putting everything into storage once boxed up, has really helped me manage the process. I am able to see what is left to do, and to best gage how much stuff I have, and how much stuff I don't need.
Last week I had boxed up all of the books, photo albums and files from my bedroom. It was a mixture of our things. I decided not to try and sort through these things, as they are not crucial at this time. Once those boxes were in storage I knew what needed to be done next. I had been avoiding it long enough. I needed to decide what to do with Michael's clothing. I had already alerted his mother that I would be placing his clothing into boxes for donation. She had previously asked me to pick what I wanted to keep, then she would take the rest to donate to a hospice store near her home. When I checked in with her last week she said I should go ahead and donate them here in San Francisco.
I took my time, folding each piece of clothing very carefully. I put aside those items that had sentimental value, then went through those items and filtered them once again. I reminded myself that they were just things, and that other men could find great benefit in his clothing. I have often had clients who participated in the Salvation Army's programs for men who are trying to turn their lives around. I know that many of them are given job and interview skills training, and then need a nice suit when they go out looking for jobs. This is what I told myself as I folded all of Michael's suits and dress shirts, and placed them into the boxes.
I kept having this conversation with Michael. I reminded him that he no longer needed all of these things, and that he would be helping so many other young men by giving them away. I have always donated anything that I haven't used during the prior year. It has been a rule I adopted, many years ago, and one I stick to. Michael was of the rule that he should put things away for a rainy day. He always said, "you never know." He often liked to pack up his winter clothing for safe keeping until the following year. As you might guess, his things took up most of our closet and basement storage area. We used to laugh, because the more I got rid of things, the more his things got moved into my side of the closet.
I hope he understands, and if he doesn't, it's high time he did. Yes, even after death I'm trying to change my man. Not an easy feat, as Michael could be quite stubborn. But that was part of his charm I guess.
I'm finding that I am able to do all of this with a matter of fact attitude these days. I feel like it was the perfect time to move some of his things on. As a matter of fact, I was able to move two car loads of our things on today. I think it is my 8th car load of donations since I began packing up the house. I'm really trying to stick with my resolve to give away anything not used in the last year. I have also tried to give away half of everything we had in this house. I don't want to feel burdened by objects from our past. I want to carry forward those things that really mean something, and not cling to other things just for the sake of holding on to them.
I'm finding this process quite freeing.