Due to my husband’s illness, we didn’t get much more done. It was left to me to continue the process. Before my husband died, he told me, “I’m so sorry about the mess I’m leaving you in,” which I assured him lovingly was no problem and I would take care of it when the time came. Yep, it was one of those “ignorance is bliss” moments. I thought I knew what he was talking about. I didn’t.
After he died and an appropriate amount of time had passed, I donated all his clothes to Catholic Charities knowing they could make good use of them. Admittedly, I kept a few pieces like shirts and one pair of pajamas so I could wear them. It made me feel close to him once again. Then, I turned to the attics once more. We had three attic areas that were filled to the brim and had to be cleaned out.
I wasn’t getting rid of Christmas stuff so it was all stored together apart from the rest. But there was still plenty to do. I’ll never forget the box I opened and found it full of tax returns. Tax returns from 1965 and it was now 2002; I should have known when Leo apologized that something was up. I dollyed them downstairs and with a little shredder started shredding. About 25 percent of the way through, I called and left a message for a commercial shredder. They never called me back. Probably thought I had a nonprofitable amount of paperwork to be shredded. Wrong. Forty boxes later, I had destroyed the first paper shredder and made good use of the second one. They just weren’t made to last through that much paperwork.
Then, there were all the antique—not really, they were just old and useless—adding machines and cash registers that my husband dearly loved. I hated those adding machines recognizing them for what they were. Trash. So, they went to the local landfill. I did honestly try to find a good home for the cash registers. One or two were really nice, but, nevertheless, no dealers wanted them. So, sadly, I put them out with the trash. It hurt, but I did it. I was strong. I had been through worse. Awww, the guilt was killing me. But, then, I looked at the garage and saw how clean it was starting to look and was cheered. A dazed neighbor’s husband was given all the screws, nails, wire, plumbing, and electrical equipment that was in the garage and the containers that held them. I gave away shovels, picks, axes, and, sadly, threw away my kids old sled. I loved that sled, but they really aren’t a needed here.
The clean out continued for the attics and the garage. Some things were tossed with glee, some without a thought, and some with sadness. But it was going, going, gone. I honestly don’t remember what all I got rid of, but it was a huge job.
Through all of this manual labor of throwing stuff away, I was also losing weight. I had hit an all time high and the internet chart said I was considered obese. I was a heart attack or stroke looking for a place to happen. With all the stress I had been under plus the steroids while on chemo, I had packed on pounds. That didn’t merge with my internal self-image so I started eating healthier foods and drinking water instead of sweet tea. So, physically, I was getting lighter and, meanwhile, my heart and soul were getting lighter. Like castle walls, possesions crowd out other thoughts just as weight imprisons our body. Lighter is better in both realms.
Part III will post tomorrow.