When my husband died, there were reminders of our life together everywhere I looked. Sweet, lovely memories surrounded me, and those memories gave me much needed comfort in those dark, dark, dark days of despair and loneliness.
His favorite leather jacket hung in the closet next to my jackets and coats. His shoes lined the closet floor, and his drawers were filled with his favorite socks, underwear, and polo shirts. I would touch his articles of clothing, and whisper how much I loved him, and how much I missed him. It was a ritual I would do morning and night. This ritual made me feel close to him, a closeness that I longed for ever so much.
In the back of my mind, I knew that I needed to do something with his clothing, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go through his closet and drawers. I remember how when my mother passed away, my sister and I had to go through her clothing and make decisions on what to do with everything. There were dresses that she wore to her grandchildren’s weddings, shoes and purses that she loved, and coats that still smelled of her perfume.
It was something we had to do, something that was hard for both of us. There was very little conversation; we went about the task quickly holding back our tears. I knew only too well what going through my husband’s clothing would do to me, and I refused to do it.
I ignored the “rule” that tells us we need to get rid of the deceased’s belongings. Some people have no problem doing this; I was not some people. I could not bring myself to do it.
I believe that there are some “rules” that need to be broken. I believe that we must do what our heart tells us to do in situations like these, and that is just what I did. I followed my heart. To this day, his leather jacket remains in my closet next to my jackets and coats, a sweet reminder of him. In fact, his clothing remained in his closet for five years, and only until I moved from the house we called home for over 30 years did I donate some of his clothing.
Except there is one article of clothing that will always remain with me: his baseball cap. It always brings a smile to my face and a warm feeling to my heart. Eddie always left his baseball cap on the back seat of our car; it is still on the back seat of my car.
This baseball cap is special, it is the one that he left there before he passed away, and it is the one that he purchased when we were up at a resort that we loved. We had a condo there, and we would go up there for long weekends. Yes, this is a very special baseball cap – a baseball cap of memories. I have so many happy memories of our times together there, memories that are brought back just by looking at that baseball cap in the back seat of my car.
I especially remember when we went there to celebrate our anniversary, and he surprised me by having a huge bouquet of flowers in the living room when we arrived. Or, the time we celebrated my 50th birthday there, and he gave me a beautiful amethyst (my birth stone) and diamond tennis bracelet. I have worn this bracelet every day since he gave it to me. I could go on and on about the memories that baseball cap holds.
Yes, personal items help us to hold onto the memory or our lives together. They strengthen the bond that we have with our loved one. They provide comfort, and sweet, sweet memories of our lives together. His baseball cap does just that for me, and yes, it will always remain in the back seat of my car…it is truly a baseball cap of memories.