He's been gone for five years today. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday and sometimes it seems like a million years ago. I went through some old journal entries and found this (from just after he died). It sure brought back memories:
This morning when I reached for my toothbrush I looked at Chris' toothbrush that is still in our toothbrush holder. I can't seem to get rid of it. I don't want to get rid of it. His backpack is still hanging on the back of the laundry room door where he hung it after work, and his boots are still in the shoe cupboard. His nighstand is still full of dirty ear plugs from work and spare change from his pockets. His truck is parked in the driveway and inside the truck there are still empty candy bar wrappers and pictures that the kids drew for him at daycare. His clothes are still in his dresser. How am I ever going to get rid of this stuff? How am I ever going to get over the way I feel right now?
After I read this, it brought back all sorts of memories for me. I remembered that just after he died, someone came over to help me with housework and washed my bed sheets to be helpful. I was so completely devastated when I found out that they washed Chris' pillow case... because it was the only thing left that smelled like him and I had vowed never to wash it. I cried for days. And then there was the day the police officer showed up on my doorstep to see if I wanted Chris' backpack that he recovered from the auto wrecker site. It was covered in blood and the officer felt bad about that, but he thought that I probably wanted the things inside... the things Chris carried with him when he died. I didn't really care about what was inside, but I obsessively washed the backpack in the washing machine over and over to get it clean, so that I could hang it back up where it belonged, in the laundry room. It was as if it was the only piece of him that I had left.
Things got easier as time went on and I finally got rid of his toothbrush, work boots, and clothes from the closet. I even got to the point where I took my wedding rings off and put them in a box to hand down to my girls one day. And eventually, I opened myself up to love again. But, the memory of Chris will always be part of me and my kids, and if you look in my laundry room, you will still see his backpack, hanging in the closet. It's the one thing that I just can't seem to get rid of.
We miss you Chris.