I've been sorting through our cupboards and closets and purging the least needed/most outgrown items lately in anticipation of living mostly indoors again after a summer in the backyard and beach.
I have found mismatched gumboots, lost flashlights, a dried up snail and the odd coin. Most surprisingly, I have unearthed copious amounts of Jeff's clothing despite thinking that the vast majority of it had been distributed among family, friends and the Salvation Army.
As I have worked on this task, the kids have been playing together...or re-enacting small-scale wars in the back hall. Today, their fighting somehow led to the playroom door (for which there is no key) to be locked.
Since I imagine myself to be somewhat of a handi-woman, I attempted to pick the lock. Failing this, I attempted to break into the room from an exterior window. Then, I removed the door knob not really realizing that the bolt would still be intact...without a knob. After this, I tried to shoulder the door open with brute force. Sometime later, I gave up and called a friend.
As he kneeled on the floor peering through the impenetrable knob hole, I stared at his large sock-clad feet which brought to mind a pair of new, brown leather shoes I had unearthed at the back of the laundry room closet.
"Hey, Dave," I said, "Do you need any shoes?" He turned and looked at me quizzically.
"I found a pair of brand-new shoes of Jeff's at the back of a closet and thought that maybe you could use them."
"Um. Well. Not...I don't know, Jackie," he stammered, "That's...um, very nice of you. But, um, weird." He went on to explain, "I have never had anyone offer their dead husband's possessions to me. It feels really odd...and wrong."
I sat and pondered for a moment. I thought about how uncomfortable I would have felt in the same situation three years ago. How I may worry about accepting some one's beloved's possessions would ultimately upset them or that I may be terribly close to catching "dead".
But then I started to laugh, "Dave, I am sure when we are in our 90s and most of us have lost many of our loved ones and close friends, offering a pair of unused shoes or a wooden spatula that once belonged to a dead person will be nothing short of common place. This is just the beginning, my friend! And really, Dave, I do not think that you have to worry about Jeff needing them back."
But this evening as I washed dishes, I wondered again if it was wrong of me to ask a friend if he had use for something that had once belonged to Jeff? WAS it odd? Did I cross some taboo barrier? Was this a "widow's faux pas"? Am I still too young for my peers to "get" how ridiculous this attachment to a dead person's unused possessions is? Or is my way of thinking off-track?
I truly just wanted someone who could use them to have them....I suppose it will have to be a stranger who will use them. And that is okay too....they won't have to know that the shoes have "dead germs" on them. :)