Grief Emerging From a Closet Purge

This weekend Todd is camping, and he even took Ben with him. I cannot believe how much quieter the house is without the young pup following me every minute of the day. Coco is content and thrilled to just be left alone. Enjoying the calm that surrounds her while she sleeps and eats.

I am on a round of Prednisone, which has taken over Slaughter’s fictional characters at interrupting my slumber. If you know me, you also know that I am not a great sleeper when my spouse is away. Prednisone and the absence of Todd is a great recipe to create progress on this year’s home purging goal. I am on a mission to purge 10 items a day in 2023. It seems my shopping may have surpassed my purging at this point. There’s that! But this weekend I am making up for the imbalance.

It’s a beautiful weekend for the first time in weeks in not-so-sunny Southern California. I wanted to get to the purge quickly and then get outside to enjoy the sunshine I’v desperately missed. I began cleaning out a bench seat full of this and that. Old blankets, random flat sheets, tablecloths, and more tablecloths. I swiftly conquered this task and filled a 33-gallon bag with pride. 

Next up, a quick closet purge. Emily and I share a closet in her room. It is stuffed to the gills and overwhelming to look at. After a week of self-development novels (Jay Shetty and Shauna Niequist were the authors of the week), I was ready to let go of some of my belongings to make space for more internal calm. Less is more.

As I began quickly browsing the contents at a rapid pace, I pulled out a jacket one of Emily’s caregivers had created a few years ago. My heart suddenly skipped a beat, and grief swept over me like a crashing wave. There I was holding this denim jacket with a glittering butterfly and the charm that dangled from it, “Big Sis”. I began to cry. Tears streamed down my face. I could hardly catch my breath. It was raw, palpable, and uncontrollable. I couldn’t contain the sadness that erupted from the sight of that silly, beaten-up jacket. Billie, you have been on this journey long enough to know how this works. Caregivers come. Caregivers go. This is just one step on a path. A path on the way to their dreams. A pit stop in the race. Why are you so upset about this? What is going on? Your emotions are a bit over the top don’t you think? Wow, you are a hot mess and blubbering the ugly cry. Get a hold of yourself!

The sound of Emily giggling at my ugly cry broke the spell. I know Emily desperately misses some of the caregivers that have crossed the threshold of our home. The grief and loss that follows the absence of a caregiver are always difficult. But those that were more than caregivers are the toughest. The ones that loved Emily as if she was a younger sibling. They treated her with dignity, love, and compassion. The caregivers that entered our home, took charge and embraced our family with effortless ease. They added joy to Emily’s life and my life too. The ones I adopted as bonus children. They helped me grow as a mom and caregiver while adding joy and laughter to our home.

That damn denim jacket that hasn’t been out of the closet since 2019 is a reminder of the loss that comes with this journey. The special people that come and go. The ones that come and leave an imprint in our lives. The attachments we make as we open up our hearts and our homes. The joy these women impart in Emily’s life. The priceless smiles and laughter they elicit from Emily by only their presence. These caregivers became part of our family. They support Emily. They support me. They support the family. You cannot imagine life without them until one day, that is the reality.

Published by bshort1968

I am a self-described caregiver. I love to help and care for others. I have learned the value of caring for myself as well. Now I want to live my life helping others learn to care for others and take care of themselves as well.

2 thoughts on “Grief Emerging From a Closet Purge

  1. Oh, my friend, this so touched my heart. I experienced something similar when cleaning out my brother’s closet after his recent death. The memories th


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