It’s been five months. Five long months, but there are still so many things to do. So many goodbyes left to say. Most of them are symbolic and silent, but they are goodbyes nonetheless. Between just him and me.
Everyone else has said their goodbyes in their own way. They were done long ago.
I’m far from done. I don’t think I’ll ever be done saying goodbye. I would’t want to be, honestly. Saying a final goodbye would be too hard. I’m not ready for that. I won’t ever be.
Still, there are things to do — goodbyes, if you will.
I have to shut off his phone. I plan to do that soon. We’ve transferred all the photos and videos off of it. No one calls him anymore. In fact, the phone hasn’t been charged for a few weeks, so there’s no reason, really, to keep the account. No reason except it’s one more difficult goodbye to get through.
All the utilities are still in his name. More goodbyes, once I get to those tasks.
His wallet, driver’s license, watch and glasses. No one needs them anymore. No one can use them. I should get rid of them. I suppose I should say goodbye. Instead, they sit in the drawer next to my bed. Sometimes I hold them before sleep or right after waking. Eventually, I’ll be ready to say goodbye, but not quite yet.
I’ve yet to transfer car titles. More goodbyes. I still have his vehicle. Probably should sell it at some point. Another goodbye.
His tools. What do I do with his tools? I don’t know how to use them. My kids may want them at some point. Do we keep them just in case, or do we say goodbye?
I donated most of his clothes to charity. His closet is empty, reminding me daily of that goodbye. I packed up his shoes, also for donation. They are still in the basement waiting for my goodbye.
I hope to move soon. Saying goodbye to the home where we raised our family will be significant.
There is the wall where we measured each child’s height as they grew from toddlerhood to the teen years. There is the kitchen table where we ate our family meals. There are bedrooms where we read night time stories and said our prayers. There is the dining room table where we shared special Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with extended family.
There are the bathrooms and kitchen, which he rebuilt from scratch when we first moved here 20 years ago.
There is the backyard where I planted raspberries, asparagus and my cherished hosta gardens. It’s the same place he built a paver patio and walking path. The backyard was our project. It was our haven. One of them, at least.
I need to move forward. He’ll come with me — I know that to my core. The house is just a house. Still, I’ll have to say goodbye to it.
I have to say goodbye to a lot of things; I already have. But there is more to do. More goodbyes to accomplish. I hate each one, but it is inevitable. It has to be done. So on I go.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.