It’s odd to me how much I have lost interest in material “stuff” in the last 17 months. It really doesn’t matter much now. I don’t have to have the latest and greatest of anything anymore. I don’t keep up with the latest release of the newest smart phone as I once did. I don’t drive down the street wishing I had a different newer car like I used to. As far as “stuff” goes, things have become much simpler for me. It just doesn’t seem to matter; there are far more important things than “stuff”.
However, I do still have A LOT of stuff.
I don’t know what to do with most of it so it sits in a storage unit until I come up with a plan. I have moved 3 times in the last 5 months. I went from a fully furnished 3 bedroom house full of stuff to living in one bedroom of my mother-in-law’s home and now living in one room at my parents’ home. Maybe that’s why stuff has become less important to me, because I am tired of moving it!!! I’m blessed to have been able to go back home for a while. In this process I had to find new homes for two of our fur-babies. Thankfully I was able to keep two with me. There have been a lot of good-byes in my life in the last couple of weeks. I am blessed because Chris and I don’t have any children together. I prayed for one for a long time and now I am so thankful for unanswered prayers. I have a 12 yr. old step son who lives with his mother, but no children living in our home who have been up-rooted from their daily lives in the midst of all the mess. I am not downplaying the effect this is having on my stepson because it is enormous. I am simply saying that his daily, weekly, and school routine haven’t been affected and for that I am thankful. Everything else in his world has been turned upside down, so I am thankful for things that are still intact in his life. He is still able to come visit and spend weekends with me at this time. I am beyond blessed and thankful for his mother and step-father who have been very compassionate and wonderful.
Anyway, back to the stuff….
I packed up and moved to my parents 3 days after dropping Chris off at his new living quarters for the next 8 years. This means that I had to pack and unpack all my stuff again….and all his stuff. That is NOT easy to do when dealing with a situation like I am going through. What does one do with all his “stuff”? He obviously won’t need it for a good long while and when he does need his stuff again the clothes he had won’t fit and who knows if he will like any of his current stuff in 8.5 years. I have heard of and know of people that have lost loved ones who leave their “stuff” in the exact same spot they left it the last time they used it because it either brought comfort to them or they couldn’t bear the pain of doing anything with because that brings some reality with it. That might have been nice for me to be able to do for a week or two anyway, but I didn’t have that option. Not that I am comparing him going away to prison to death, but I have found there are some similarities. Things had to be moved in my case; his things.
And it was painful.
It was hard knowing that he won’t wear his favorite hat anymore and he doesn’t need cologne. Really silly things in big picture, but I seem to have found that the silly little things are the ones that cause the most epic melt downs for me. Do I keep his stuff for 8.5 years? Do I give it away to friends or family? Donate it? I had not even thought about that part until I got back to TN after dropping him off down in Louisiana and had to start packing. It seemed weird to give it away when he is alive and well.
So I didn’t.
I packed it in boxes for now. Some of it I took with me to my mom’s, like his favorite hat and the necklace he wore every day. They hang beside my bed. I have all his jewelry, some I wear myself every day now, the rest is just in my jewelry box. No particular reason for it to be there, I simply don’t know what else I should do with it. I took two of his favorite colognes because the smell reminds me of him; every few nights or so I spray some on the shirt of his that I sleep with. I took a few of his favorite t-shirts with me also and my mom is going to make pillows out of them for Chris’ mother, his son, and for me. He loved (See what I did there? It should be loves, he isn’t deceased!) to dress in a nice shirt and tie for church on Sunday mornings. I kept his ties with me, they are in a small box in the top of my closet. I figure eventually I will give away the boxes of his clothes I took to storage to the mission here in town, but ties will always fit and ties don’t go out of style. Or do they???
Now, if you had read only the last half of the section above you’d be sure you were reading something written by a young widow who lost her husband to a death of some sort. It’s odd how similar the process seems to be. There is grieving to be sure, but it’s a different kind. There is closure with death. There is no closure with a husband in prison; life goes on with someone missing that one day will return. You have to move on and build a new normal but you have to find ways to include your spouse because you want them to be involved and informed as best they can be in the situation.
I find myself taking pictures so I can send them to him to show him things, like how I hung a picture in my room. It’s still all very weird. I have in no way, shape or form begun to figure out how I will come to a ‘new normal’ in which I can find some joy and make sure my husband is a part of everyday things that go on in my life and his son’s.
So I have decided I’m not going to worry too much about figuring it out. I’m going to let God handle all that and let Him show me how HE will build a new normal that includes my husband as much as possible and still allows me to thrive in Christ and carry out his will while waiting for my husband to return home. The only thing I have figured out at this point is I know this isn’t going to be easy but I know God will always be with us.
He already has our future written and I still don’t know what to do with all this stuff!!