One of the days I have been dreading has finally happened. This past weekend I was able to clean out Mark’s closet. I have walked past his dresser and his side of the closet everyday and chose to ignore the fact that all of his shirts, pants, ties, suits, shoes, etc, were all still there like the day he left for work. I know, I know, he’s not coming back to clean them but if he was here he wouldn’t have to.
There were so many emotions as I pushed back the door. All his collared shirts still in the dry cleaning bags he had picked them up in staring back at me. His tie tacks and collar smoothers still laid out ready to go. It was as if I had opened the door to a time machine. What felt strange was how it felt like it was all a lifetime ago now. A life where he would ask me if something matched, if he should roll up the sleeves or leave them long, a life where our friendship became a love story. A love story with its happily ever after cut short. Now I was faced with a closet full of those reminders.
There were shoes he’d never have a chance to wear. Suits ready to go for events that have come and gone since his passing. Banana Republic and Calvin Klein shirts for meetings for work that had to go on without him. Kind of like life. A life that now has to continue to find its way without him in it. I laughed as I looked at how many shirts the man had! Every color you could think of. There were aloha shirts, polo shirts, long and short sleeved shirts. I hadn’t even gotten to the pants or the suits. The kids helped me take each shirt off their hanger and place it into one of several piles.
The first pile was of clothes the kids couldn’t get rid off. A few friends have offered to create momentoes for the children out of his clothing. So shirts went into a pile to create a quilt and others for a pillow for each child. I could remember so many awesome moments attached to each piece of clothing. Laughs, dates, love, lots of love.
The next pile was going to find its way to someone starting their career. I know Mark will watch over them with the same guidance he would’ve given as if he was here. May each piece bring them the success he had in business and in just about every aspect of life.
The final pile was to go to the thrift shop. That was the hardest pile. Ironically, not much made it to that pile. It was like Mark knew I couldn’t just give all that away. In the end, the closet got done. It is empty with just his high school letterman jacket for football and track still hanging up where so much of his things used to be. The symbolism of what comes next. I have no idea. The partnership, relationship, and love Mark and I shared left me with the strength to look the future straight in the eye. Like the space in the closet, life can be filled with so much and everything will be with what I choose it to be, with what I know is best for me and the kids. May it be a future filled with much laughter, successes, love, yes… lots of love.