I wore Jeff's work coat the other night - Halloween night. It was the first time I have worn it in the three years since he died. I haven't wanted it to lose any of his smell, cells or presence by donning it myself. But with it on, I felt warm, cuddled and protected from the cold Autumn wind biting at me as I followed the kids down a variety of driveways while they asked strangers for candy.
Although I could have used his coat many times in the snow or stacking wood in the days since his death, it has hung in his closet collecting dust and the smell contained within said closet.
Later in the evening after staying warm and dry wrapped in his jacket, I reaching in the pocket hoping to find a tissue to wipe Briar's chilly little nose. Instead, I found a slip of paper. Written on the paper in both my and his signature font was our last grocery list together. My bubbly and embarrassingly juvenile scrawl married with his fluid, grown-up handwriting.
I marveled at the thought of how unknowing and naive we both were while jotting down these items. I tried to remember the meal. I wondered what we had talked about and if we had eaten fish or chicken along with the green beans, mushrooms and basil.
It also made me realize how far away that life is now. How far I've come without him. And although I really, truly never thought that the vacuous minutia of everyday would ever slip back into my life, it has.
My grocery lists now only contain my print/writing with the occasional kid-written word "candy" or "juice". But I am still buying the groceries. I am still feeding our kids. I am still walking upright. And although I still live everyday missing him, I can keep part of him close. His coat, or his kids, or his memory. He is with me. In my heart. In my memory. In my closet.