Sunday, June 28, 2009

His scent, his van and a new website

Last night I pulled one of Cliff's t-shirts out of a pile of washed laundry, so that I could wear it to bed. Somehow, it had got into the clean stuff ... he had worn it, probably for a couple of hours and slung it on top of the pile, as was his habit, usually because he was doing a million things at once.

Scent is so evocative, isn't it? He didn't wear after-shave, so it smelt of HIM. I luxuriated in it, breathing him in deeply and actually smiled. That surprised me ... I thought, "uh-oh, here we go, I'm falling into a big session of wailing and sobbing and snot" ... but instead, it gave me a feeling of being completely safe and near to him again. Comfort rather than pain.

Yes, I wore it and had a fantastic night's sleep ... I didn't wake up once, no nightmares or sweats got through the invisible protective barrier of his scent and I THINK I don't regret wearing it now ... because it's losing him and smelling more like my shampoo.

Besides I have some other items of unwashed laundry (and his pillows), safely wrapped in plastic. JUST IN CASE.

Both my dogs gently stretched up and sniffed at the t-shirt, then walked off. Oh, to be a bloody dog, oblivious to this agony! They adjust so quickly, it's unreal.

The Van? (I hear you ask) ... hmmm, well I got together a bucket, damp rags, and empty carrier bags as well as a strong box to put stuff in, put it by the front door ready ... then promptly threw up IN the bucket. Perhaps I'm not quite ready to tackle that task. NOT YET.

This website was recommended on one of the blogs that I follow. I've had a brief look and some of it is quite useful, with some helpful links. It's a British website, run by a widow, so might complement the American site (on my links) that has become my "bible".


  1. I found the MerryWidow site very early on, and lurked there for several months. At the time I don't think I wanted to share my grief with anyone so I never delurked at all. Even so, I got a lot out of the site in terms of coping strategies and just the knowledge that there were lots of other people going through the same traumas. In the end, though, I felt that it was holding me back and preventing me from going forward at my own pace - I found I was doing too much comparing notes and finding myself wanting because I wasn't grieving in the same way as other people. Stupid, I know, but that's just the way my head was working at the time.
    On the positive side, it does have a very good 'community spirit', and members organise regular get-togethers around the country.

    As to the clothes, I have been wearing R's clothes almost non-stop since the day he died. Today I am sporting a very fetching pair of Eric Morecambe baggy shorts and a rather grubby 'gardening' T-shirt that should have been retired years ago. I suspect I look a right old state, but I don't care - it makes me feel as though he is wrapped around me as I go about my day.
    Fortunately we're roughly the same size widthwise (if not in height), or heaven only knows what I would look like!

    Shame about the van, but you tried.
    Perhaps you could leave all the kit ready near the door and take yourself by surprise one day. Sometimes that works for me.

  2. Hi J - I have left the bucket (now clean again!) etc by the front door, funnily enough. And I'll do it when I can ... sometimes I work myself up about stuff rather than just doing it.

    I was grinning at your description of your clothes :-) I don't think I'll donate any of Cliff's clothes to charity. It would freak me out if I saw someone else wearing them. Besides, I love wearing his shirts and t-shirts, and many of them have memories. If I could sew, I'd contemplate making a comfort quilt for myself ... perhaps that's something I could learn/join a class ... quilt-making. OMG, I NEVER thought I'd say that in my entire life.

    Comparing yourself to others is really unhelpful isn't it. It took me a while to realize that this is my grief, my pace too.

    Think I'll stick to the discussion board I'm on as you get to know people on there, but the merrywidow site has a some good links etc.

  3. My well-meaning cousin did most of the laundry the days after David died but, luckily, I salvaged a shirt before it was washed. It is folded on my bed side table and every once in a while, I smell it. It STILL smells like him.

    I have so few of his clothes left--most given away to charity--but those I do have, I'm going to have made into a teddy bear. And once I have that, I am going to spray the heck out of it with his aftershave. That is the smell that I miss the most.

  4. The teddy bear idea is brilliant ... there's another project for me to add to the list ;-) Seriously, I really like that idea ... are you using a company to do this, or is a friend making the bear for you. Would be interested to know xx