Susan will be here in just two weeks, which means I have to get going and get the guest room into a habitable condition. I've been putting it off, cleaning the kitchen, the dining room, the breakfast nook, the family room instead. Doing anything to avoid the biggest task of all: bagging up Bate's clothes and taking them down to EAUS. I should have done this months ago -- in the midst of this slow economic recovery, there are people who could be getting the benefits of his shirts and jeans instead of leaving them scattered on the guest room bed.
You see, I started this task months ago, going through his closet, selecting a handful of shirts and the suit he wore when we married to keep, and then sorting the remaining shirts and ties and jackets into piles. And that is as far as I got. Every time I walked into the guest room, armed with plastic bags, I froze. Giving away Bate's clothes, even to a good cause, seemed like such a final step, that once his clothes weren't there, he wouldn't be there either.
Which, of course, is stupid. Bate will always be in my heart, my memories, with me in the way he influenced my life. I will never be able to pick up a book by Henning Mankell and not think of Bate. I will never be able to eat Chinese food or listen to an Eva Cassidy or Van Morrison CD and not think of Bate. The truth is, I really don't notice the clothes on the bed, it's not the clothes themselves; it's the thought of no longer having them there, comforting in one way and a huge painful, burden in another. They are not just clothes, just something else I have to let go of, like Bate, like the dreams we shared that we will never realize, and all the little day-to-day things that no longer happen.
And that is the hard part -- letting go. I have resolved to bag up the clothes this afternoon and take them down to EAUS. It is time, time to move forward with my life, buoyed up with happy memories of Bate, and not burdened by the sight of clothes that will never be filled out with Bate's warmth and bulk. It is time to let these clothes to move on with their lives, too, to be filled with the warmth and bulk of a man that someone loves just as much as I will alway love Bate.