Our Husband’s Stuff

What to do with our husband’s stuff is conflicting and just plan difficult when we are still grieving.

After about four years I finally cleaned out the storage shed at the cottage.  There stood Donnie’s golf clubs and chain saw – they had remained where he had put them years ago.

It isn’t like I was ever going to use either his clubs or his chain saw, but it was still hard to let them go.  I was ready, but it still felt like Donnie was slowly disappearing with everything of his that I give away.

Donnie loved golfing with his best friend, Bobby, and so it felt right to give Bobby his golf clubs.  I gave the chain saw to my Uncle Wayne and ten years later he used it to cut down a tree at the cottage.  So much better than letting Donnie’s stuff rust away unused in the shed.

Another item was Donnie’s John Deer lawn tractor.  Donnie had just gotten it three months before he suddenly died and he loved sitting on it as he mowed the lawn.  But it seemed that every time I used it, it need to be boosted.  Finally after two years I brought a new battery for it.  It started like a charm and I wondered why I waited so long.  I think that I just didn’t want to change anything, I wanted to keep it just the way it was when Donnie last used it.

Donnie loved that John Deere tractor but it was crazy to not replace the faulty battery.  Sometimes there is no logic in our thinking when it comes to our husband’s stuff.

Some things, like his clothes, I was able to donate the first year but other items took years to give away.  My mind told me it was time, but I couldn’t do it tell my heart let me.

We mustn’t allow anyone to minimize the importance of our emotions.  Acknowledge your feelings by saying, “I respect my grief and the importance of what I’m going through”.  It will be easier to educate family and friends once you accept your own grief journey.

Mary Francis, The Sisterhood of Widows

17 Responses

  1. Denise Leach
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    Thank you so much. My mom use to ask me constantly if I’d gotten ride all his things. She started this 2 wks after he died suddenly from bleeding ulcer. and it was impossible to make her understand as her and my dad were never close. She had my dad’s things gone the week he passed. She constantly said you need to move on. She moved on and passed away 5 mos after my husband did. It took 8 yrs to donate my wedding dress and his favorite leather jacket. I did cleaned out the shed earlie but itcwas so hard. It’s 10 yrs now and I still have his motor cycle helmet. He was a true motor sports enthusiasts and I still watch Nascar races for him now and then. A no longer insensitive girlfriend commented at his tool box in our basement and said oh my God, why do you still have this with your wedding pics above the tool bench, it looks like a shrine! I’ve left it just the way it was and I still use some of his tools and stand at it and talk to him. It makes me feel close to him, brings back good memories and sometimes I even holler at him there when frustrated and over loaded. In one’s own time.

  2. Brandy Stopinsek
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    Thank you Mary.. still can’t even get rid of his toothbrush yet but I guess it’s ok and I don’t have to rush there is no clock on how I feel and no snooze bar to rush me before I am ready! I got rid of the stuff he never wore right away but still haven’t done the laundry he left in his basket before he left that day and never returned… I needed this post today ❤️

    • Denise Leach
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      I still have his deodorant , soap, and after shave. I like to smell him still even tho 10 yrs. Now. Yes took a lot to let razor and tooth brush go. I have 1 box of his favorite t shirts I m keeping. I smelled each suit, sweater, etc when I let all go. I think it’s OK for me to have the one box and the tool bench after 10 yrs. If I ever move I will let tools go then.

  3. Jessica
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    Hi Brandy, I still have my husband’s laundry too. I had to put it in a box and out of sight so I am not reminded of it all the time. Many times, I would hold and smell it as it felt like the one of the only things that still smelled and felt like him. ❤️

  4. Toni Burke
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    I also find it difficult to let go of my husband’s belongings. Most of his family items went to the step children immediately. I have heard too many horrow stories about step chilren invasions. All my doors are locked and I have blocked all but one family member because requests for items came from the step children I had been married to their Father more than 40 years. They borrowed money and never paid back. In the thousands. We sold a 2nd home because they wanted to stay there. The management company kept them out. The keys to our boat were copied and one family member moved in. We had to sell that also because of the harbor master complaints. Neighbors had called the police several times. So glad step children never had keys to our home. We are talking about senior citizens that had been able live without asking for money from their Father.

    • Denise Leach
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      What a nightmare! Prayers. I am alone and have no family, makes me sad, but what you went through with family is worse

  5. Toni Burke
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    I forgot the not. They had not been able to live with our money.

  6. Jan
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    Oh my gosh, was this a timely post for me. It’s been 8 months since my husband died. Just yesterday I began clearing out some of his clothes. It was hard and brought on several crying bursts. I did find a good charity for a couple of his sports coats and dress shirts, and my granddaughter wants his sweatshirts, which I find so sweet. I plan to continue sorting through and clearing out to make room for some storage for new hobbies I’m going to begin in order to try to move forward. So at least I won’t be clearing out and having “empty” staring me in the face, but I’ll have “new interests” there instead. And another thing…his name was not Donnie, but that was a nickname I had for him! So this post was amazing and at the exact right time. Thank you so much. ❤️

  7. Brandy Stopinsek
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    Toni I asked my husband’s brother for help in selling a camper and and he asked me when he could get his dirt bike… I said never it’s his sons and hid it at someone else’s house and no longer want his family over to “case my joint” I feel for youI also changed my locks myself!!! ❤️ Death brings out the worst in some people! Sending you hugs!

  8. Mary
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    Thank you Mary.❤
    This was just what I needed to hear today!
    I’m coming up to my late husband’s 2nd anniversary & I still can’t let go of 1 item! My friend offered to makes a blanket from his shirts, I can’t bear the thought of them being torn up. Like other windows, I love the smell of his clothing & each beautiful piece has many wonderful memories.
    My heart is broken in a million pieces & it definitely isn’t telling me it’s time. Does this ever get easier? I feel so lost & alone even in a crowded room. When I look in the mirror I can only see sadness in my eyes.
    It’s a difficult dynamic with family who really don’t understand. I realize unless you lose a spouse you simply cannot understand. We lost our sister this year & although I grieve for her, it’s not the same as losing a soulmate.
    I find the insensitivity of people who ask questions such as “are you going to sell your house”, “when are you going to stop wearing your wedding ring” and you’re young you’ll meeting someone else is almost intolerable. What gives me comfort is reading the open honest communication from the community you have created. Almost every widow goes through simular emotions & I forget that until I read their comments, so thank you all for sharing openly & honestly.

    • Denise Leach
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      Ibdontvthinknit gets easier, we just learn to cope better. I so agree. I had 6 people asking for his car. I ended up keeping both for 10 yrs and switching them up. This yrvi traded both in on a new one, cried when they sent someone to drive his away and still almost lost a girlfriend who is on my will because I would not sell it to her. They don’t understand what a huge step this was for me and that once it’s gone, I don’t want to see it again.. this was the last of the malpractice money I saved for a car. I did feel like hecwas sitting next to me in it saying good job baby I’m proud of you.

  9. Emily Braunberger
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    I needed to see this today. I’ve been so conflicted about “rehoming” some of his stuff, and had a meltdown wondering if I was erasing him from my life one item at a time. My friends are a great support, but they don’t really understand. But they do try.

  10. Deborah Usry
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    I am lucky, I guess. My husband gave me a list of items and the people he wanted to have them. His clothes went to charitable organizations, again designated by him. It’s what he wanted so I didn’t have to make many decisions about that. Timing of giving was a little difficult but honestly, if someone could use his things, for me it was preferable to send his things out into the universe. Somehow it felt as if my husband was still around. It’s hard. It’s different for everyone.

  11. Mary Mahlmann
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    Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. I saw this post right after I disposed of some of Calvin’s meds. That put me in a true meltdown. I, too, still have the last clothes he wore…unwashed. They never will be. I have been so blessed with a wonderful family, no one has been after anything. Calvin had lots
    old cars and had told 2 of the grandsons which ones they could have.
    My heart goes out to you ladies with greedy, selfish friends and family. I cannot imagine going through this awful time without any support. God bless you. It’s been 8 months.

  12. cindyranieri
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    I am comforted in reading this post and these responses, because I am feeling the same way as many of you, and thankful to know that I am not losing my mind because I can’t imagine parting with some things. I too had a hard time recently getting rid of the hospice medications, and have a lot of others to dispose of as well. My husband passed away just last month and I know that it is supposed to get easier but I have a hard time believing that it actually will.

  13. Tracey
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    I absolutely agree with the feeling losing one’s mind through this all. I have never felt so alone, even in a crowd as someone mentioned, as I do now. I too, have my husband’s medications (hospice and others) out and haven’t put them away it disposed of them. It’s been 7 weeks since he passed. I know in my head he’s not coming back but my heart just won’t let me embrace that or let me change anything in the house or get rid of anything. I hate feeling a mess, thankful for groups like this!! I miss him so darn much!!

  14. Kato
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    My husband, 52, passed away two weeks ago. He had been very sick and in the hospital and I wish now I had not washed everything. I have to sell or rent out the house which puts pressure on me to get rid of his things but I don’t want to do it and I’m not going to even think about it until after Christmas. I also have so many medicines and a half eaten bag of potato chips I am saving. Most of his things are not valuable but I hope that some of his family and cousins would like items that they can use that will remind them of Chris even if it’s just a cast iron pan or Star Wars DVD… Love to all xo

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