Monday, March 5, 2012

The slow but inevitable shift

As sad and hard as it is, Aimee is being moved out of our house.

At the two month mark after Aimee’s death, our friend Sarah took Rowan for a few hours and Donna came over to help me with an important and emotional job: Pack up Aimee’s clothes. I invited Donna because I knew this was something she’d want to be part of. I also knew she’d want to keep a few of Aimee’s things. I wanted her to have the opportunity to go through Aimee’s stuff and take what she wanted. It was a rough morning.

But it was also a large and necessary step in the slow shift in our house.
Aimee's clothes, shoes, etc are in these
storage bins in my garage
More and more of Aimee’s things have been removed. Work files have been turned over to her colleagues. Unneeded paperwork recycled or destroyed. Books donated. And now clothes packed away for storage. (I plan to keep most of them in storage in the garage until Rowan get a little older, thinking she might want to play ‘dress-up’ in her mother’s clothes.)

There was also another reason I felt the need to pack them up. For those who've never been to our house, we bought it as a foreclosure about three years ago, and it had been trashed by the last inhabitants. That's actually how we were able to afford it at all. We'd fixed a LOT of the things wrong with the house, but one we hadn't gotten to yet was closet doors. NONE of the closets have doors on them. So, no matter what I do in my bedroom, Aimee's clothes are right there, staring at me. As soon as I wake up in the morning? I'm directly facing the closet, and her clothes. Need to get dressed for work? Have to get my clothes from next to hers. Get socks out of my dresser? That's right next to her side of the closet. Oh, and when playing hide and seek with Rowan, one of her favorite places to hide is, you guessed it, behind Aimee's clothes. And every time I looked at them, it was a reminder. They had to be packed up and moved out of my room.

I’m not ‘getting rid of Aimee’ entirely. There are still a lot of photos around the house, especially from our wedding. In Rowan’s room in particular, I have added a couple of photos and am adding more. The large print from Aimee’s memorial is also in Rowan’s room. I have also started putting a number of Aimee’s thing into a ‘memory chest’ that I’m putting together for Rowan, so that she can go through different keepsakes and memories of her mother whenever she feels the need to connect with Aimee as she grows up.

But at the same time, I feel very strongly like we have to move on, even if it’s slowly and in small steps. However tragic it may be, Aimee does not live here anymore, at least not in body. Her memory is everywhere – that won’t change. And in some ways, those reminders are getting harder and harder to look at.


  1. You're such a great dad with foresight into the thinking of little girls. Playing dress up in my mom's old clothes is a favorite memory of mine, and I bet it will be really special for Rowan when she gets that age. As always, hugs to you and your little Rowie Bear.

    1. Thanks Vanessa. I'm sure playing dress up will have a little extra meaning for her, and I'm glad I thought of it before I donated Aimee's clothes to Goodwill or a women's shelter.

  2. A strong message that the physical objects left behind are reminders of the great memories but are certainly not needed to keep those memories intact. I smile knowing how much fun Rowan will have playing dress up. Both of you continue to be in my thoughts...

  3. I am sure that Rowan will treasure the things you have saved of her mother's. Perhaps having a special friend make a quilt from the clothing would provide you both physical comfort and allow you to recall those special memories of Aimee together.