It was just a bit of crumpled tissue, and I was in flood of tears. Who says you get over the loss of a loved one, you don’t . You just live from day to day ,sometimes feeling very pleased with yourself that you have completed another,year, month or sometimes day without them.
let me explain.
It will be three years,next Febuarary ,that I lost my husband of many years. Actually he was married to me for some 43 years, but we knew each other long before that ,we met when I was just 17, we changed continents,made our home in a different culture ,raised a family and thought we have made a success of our lives. Perhaps we have. Our children have done well, we had a comfortable life style, life was pretty good, when suddenly he was diagnosed with cancer, for two and half years our lives lives were like a roller coaster,between hope and despair. Until death put an end to it.
It is strange ,when a person’s identity is suddenly reduced to some belongings in a plastic bag, with the logo of the Hospice. One day he was there, and the next he was no more.
I come from a culture where a woman has no identity without her man. A widow is considered un-lucky, is confined to home, doesn’t wear colours,or jewellery or make up ,has no say or participation in happy occasions,like weddings etc. In Asia it is believed that if a widow crosses your path ,it is un lucky! A bit like the black cat,who is considered an omen of doom.
At least I didn’t have to face that, but was told by one Asian lady (an educated one living in the UK),that I will never be invited to a wedding now! Suffice to say I have attended three weddings so far, my European neighbours ,when their daughters got married, the bridesmaids stayed in my house,and I drove them to the venue. I was sat with the family and was treated as a VIP.
So I thought I have reasonably “moved on”. I travel and meet friends and do charity work and enjoy the company of my children ,so life has been ticking along as they say.
Until yesterday that is, we get bags through our letter boxes to donate clothes and bric a brac to charities.
And I regularly give, if I buy an item of clothing , I get rid of at least two, hate having to stock pile things.
But I haven’t given a lot of my husband’s stuff. He was a very elegant dresser, expensive suits, sports jackets and shirts and silk ties. It is not the value, it is just all his stuff is hanging in his wardrobe,next to mine, I cant bring myself to chuck it away ,look at it, or give it to charities, whose shops are already overflowing with clothes,I want these clothes to go to those who will enjoy /appreciate wearing them. I read somewhere that Mrs Thatcher ,never got rid Denis’s clothes ;for years after he died. One night she had a row with him in her dream,and woke up in the middle of the night and filled black bags with his clothes, put them out of the door, and went back to bed!
But I digress.
I opened the wardrobe yesterday to put some of my husband’s clothes in the charity bag, picked up one trouser , and checked the pockets. Only to find a tissue ,slightly crumpled. Taking that out was like a current ran through me.As if I have touched his hand, at least something which was last touched by his hand.
Since our children were born he always carried tissues in his pocket, and produced them whenever the need arose. Moping spills and mouths and tears. Those tissues were life savers. And then it become a habit with him, he always had tissues in his pocket.
This tissue was part of who he was,someone always ready to come to the rescue of his family, mopping up life’s spills ,when we have been careless to cause them.
It suddenly has brought back a huge sense of loss ,all over again, may be a sense which is multiplied with the last years and months when I have deceived myself that I have moved on.
It is only a piece of tissue, but it has become something very significant for me.