‘How can I just give your clothes away? Like they meant nothing. Shoving them into glossy black bags like garbage.’: Woman shares her journey with grief, ‘Maybe today, I’m not ready’

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“I’ve had your clothes sitting in a box next to my bed for a month. Rescued relics that remind me of what I’ve lost. 

After you died, I went through your closet and drawers, and I made two piles – one to donate and one to keep. 

I was a methodical machine. Picking up each piece of clothing and deciding quickly if I wanted to keep it for myself, or your daughter, or one of your nieces.

But, each time I placed something in the donate pile, I swallowed pain like a thick pill I could feel sitting in the pit of my stomach.

How can I just give your clothes away? Like they meant nothing. Shoving them into glossy black bags like garbage. 

Marie Kondo always says to get rid of things that don’t spark joy. 

How was I supposed to go through each room in your house and decide if an item sparks joy, when every single piece of clothing, every pair of shoes, and every coffee mug was tied to a beautiful memory of you?

How was I supposed to give away your dress to a stranger as I let the material slide through my fingers and remembered the exact moment you wore it last?

Nobody talks about these gut wrenching, real moments of grief. When time is frozen still, and I can feel the brutal finality of death. 

The realization you are never going to wear these things again. That you are never going to walk through that door again. So I have to decide. Donate or keep. 

Every morning, I wake up, I glance at the box of your clothes next to my bed, and I say to myself, ‘Today is the day. Today is the day I’m going to wash them, fold them, and put them away in my closet.’

But I don’t.

I can’t.

Because they still smell like you. 

They are yours, not mine. And if I wash them, fold them, and put them away in my closet, it means you are really gone. 

It means you aren’t coming back. 

It means all I have left of you are the memories associated with these pieces of fabric. While I can remember them, and remember you, each time I put them on my own body and look in the mirror, it’s not enough. 

It will never be enough.

Because you should be wearing them, not me. 

You know, maybe today isn’t the day after all.

Maybe today, I’m not ready.”

box of clothes from a loved one who has passed sits next to a bed
Courtesy of Mari Ebert

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Mari Ebert. You can follow her journey on  InstagramFacebook, and her websiteSubmit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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