Yesterday I cleaned out one of my closets and filled baskets to take to Goodwill. My personal policy has always been to give away my clothes that don't fit or I haven't worn in a year. So, though it was a pain in my ass, and only one closet, I got it done. Today I began to go through Clint's chest. I had Derek here doing outside work, but I really think I had him so there would be another human being here at the house. Some of it was easy. Things like sweats that are in good shape and tee shirts and socks don't take any thought. There are men in shelters that need usable long Johns and warm socks and thick sweatshirts. Then there are the things I could never give away: his faded old madras swimming trunks plus a pair of black ones that have funny little white figures all around the hem of the left leg. I don't know what they are, and I am sure Poppy didn't either. They came home with him from a sailing trip. Then there are the green ones with the orange and purple stripes on the legs. I held his scrubs to my face and tried hard to find his scent. It was not there, and I wept until they were streaked with my tears. I could never let them go. I saved the socks Kristy gave him last winter because his feet were always cold. I think she might want them. I set aside an old sweater Gretchen gave him years ago that he played golf in it every winter while he could still play. I kept some extra undershirts in case the ones we have now wear out, and I could not imagine any other man wearing Poppy's Tabasco boxers. One pair has oysters and crawfish and Bloody Marys all over, one has an alligator wearing a green hat and playing the guitar, one has golf stuff - clubs and balls and tees and shoes and tankards of beer. I decided to throw away all the others rather than think of anyone else wearing them. I saved a few of his handkerchiefs. He never went anywhere without one, and he always had a bandaid in his wallet. I stacked his cashmere sweaters neatly in one corner of the chest. I can't start the closet yet. I need a rest and some moral support from Kristy and Gretchen. Maybe we can do it the next time Gretch comes home.
Each time I put an article in a basket, I felt as though I were giving away a little piece of me. I feel empty and wounded inside, mentally so exhausted I can hardly type. My body aches as much as my heart does. I had promised Shannon a chocolate mousse anyway, and it was a good thing, because I had to keep going, needed to change speeds before I could even think about bathing and coming to this wide and empty bed. I needed to do something for someone else.