Bereaved spouses and partners

A place for widows and widowers to share their feelings and support one another.

Coffee machines and broken dreams

Posted by

8 weeks gone today. Yesterday I did a brave thing - the first change has been made in the house. His coffee machine and associated coffee capsules, have been removed, cleaned, boxed up and put on eBay. It's the first thing of his I've gotten rid of. I don't drink coffee you see, so it's a bit pointless. And I could really do with the space in the tiny kitchen. But it was his and he loved it so ..... one whole box of tissues later.... it's done.

But in keeping with my Stay on these Roads life promise, I have put in a nespresso milk frother in its place for my hot chocolates, kept a used coffee capsule from one of his last coffees and popped it on the shelf, and put the Disaronno he bought me for Christmas in the fancy packaging up there, along with the bottle of champagne we were given. It's very much the same but different - it's my stuff now, but it's still 'us'. 

Anyway - it was a big deal for me. I've not done anything else. Apart from send of 4 Tshirts to have made into a monkey army - watch this space - more on that later. 

Next week I will have to hand over our car. The plus side is a I get a big shiny new red one. But I can already feel the meltdown coming when I have to say goodbye to the fiesta. His sick bowl is still under the seat. I used to squeeze his leg as we sat in silence going up and down the motorway - the little 'I'm here' squeeze. 

Anyway. I nearly said Onwards then. I used to say that all the time when he was ill - it was my battle cry. But since he's been gone, it felt like there was no more onwards. May be there is a little onwards creeping in. It's well hidden and bathed in tears, but may be.... either way - he's coming too. And he'll be in the new shiny red car with me, because I'll be there. 


Posted by

Hard things to do, Julia. I've managed to put away very few of John's things, and forty nine weeks on I still have nearly all of his clothes in the wardrobe. I wear some of his jumpers and his watch. Now and then I go through all the pockets again, just in case I've missed something. I found a whole pocket full of flight boarding cards from his last work trip abroad, taken just before he fell ill. Hard to realise that he probably already had the cancer then, and it was just lurking there waiting to destroy our lives.

However I recently saw an advert for a Glasgow charity appealing for clothing for refugees who have been resettled in the city, and I think on my next trip I will sort out some stuff for them. John would have liked that, he was a very compassionate man. I don't need his clothes to keep him with me, but it will be hard.

Beautiful sunshine today, I've had a nice blowy walk. Cried a bit, but hey so what?


Posted by

It is hard to do things like this, isn't it?  Took me nearly a year to even feel that  I could pack up all Paul's  clothes,apart from his trademark maroon sweatshirts and jeans, and take to Cancer Research shop.  You could buy Paul any amount of different clothes for Christmas and birthdays.  He would smile, say thank you and then continue to wear his old comfortable maroon sweatshirts!  But we always kept trying to vary his wardrobe.   His stepdaughter and I have both got one well worn sweatshirt each and I have kept all the others in case anyone would like one!!  Can't get rid of those - too many memories.   

My next task is what to do with his motorbike leathers, boots and gloves!  They are so big and bulky so take up loads of room in wardrobe but some are almost brand new and I would like to give to a motorbike charity. Going to entail doing some research, I think.  But that's for the future.  Still comforting to keep. 

Sadly raining here today off and on.  But not cold so that's a bonus! 

Posted by

Hi Julia.  

             Your post has set me off! After a shakey. Start i had been doing well!   It's all about little steeps and letting go we have to keep moving forward one step at a time. It must be the week for it, I have rearranged the conservatory and moved Kevin's precious speakers. He hardly ever watched TV, music was his Passion and he replaced all his music system last year, it's very high tech, and I am struggling to get to grips with it!  He used to have his tape measure out making sure the speakers were in the right position, I never liked where they stood so I have moved them!!!! I haven't been struck by lightning or anything! 

I now drive his car as it is better and younger than my old banger, but while its a comfort to me, there are days like today when I can smell his aftershave on the seatbelt and I cry all the way to work, not a good idea.. I know it upsets my stepdaughter when I pull onto her drive but I am not ready to part with it yet. Four years ago Kevin had a terrible car accident and was airlifted to a major trauma unit ironically he wasn't expected to live, but he did it took him twelve months to recover and he was diagnosed with bowel cancer almost a year to the day. The accident wasn't his fault but the other driver said he hadn't seen him, so he bought a bright yellow car!! He used to take the Micky about my big ears, so now I say big ears is driving Noddy's car!! Xx

Posted by

I got rid of most of Nige's clothes straight away...I kept some shirts and t-shirts, his fleeces and a pair of pyjamas, (which I now wear, wash and put straight back on).  His shirts and t-shirts I am using to make memory bears for Phoebe and his two boys, but I've reached an impasse with it and can't seem to move on. I've also kept his aftershaves and spray a little here and doesn't really smell like him, because I think aftershave smells different on different people, and it just hasn't got HIS smell...but it's close enough.  Sat in a drawer is his chemo book...why have I kept that?

Posted by

I haven't been able to get rid of anything yet, it has crossed my mind a few times, but it can wait for another day/week/month/6months, who knows.......The only thing I have done is send his dressing gown to be made into a memory bear.

Veema, I also have the chemo book in a drawer along with the diary we used for appointments/phone numbers etc, it will be staying there as not sure I would be able to throw it out.

Rosi xx

Posted by

I had to get rid of the chemo book immediately, and all the hospital letters and appointments. I didn't want any of that to be part of my memories. After John died my son and daughter cleared all the medical stuff from the bedroom before the undertaker came, I took away his catheter bag and stand, the plastic sheet, all his medication. We didn't even discuss it, we just did it. They obviously felt the same as I did. Then it was our bedroom again, with him just lying peacefully in our bed. 

His dressing gown still smells of him, faintly. 

Sleep well everyone. X

Posted by

I sleep with Peter's dressing gown.

I wear his scarfs and inhale his hats.

Now I wish I hadn't washed so much so more stuff would smell of him  

I gave most of his clothes to homeless as he worked outdoors mainly so they are warm/thermals. I keep a coat hung up with mine and I kept his work boots.

I have kept tshirt and shirts to make a patchwork quilt. 

Peter was an artist/maker so I have many drawings/items he made for me. These I will treasure forever, he didn't care about clothes. I will choose the paint stained bits of shirts when I make the patchwork x

Posted by

As soon as Tony went into the hospice, I couldn't wait to get rid of all the clutter associated with his illness and decline: special toilet seat, bed rail, etc etc. I took the spare medicines back to the pharmacist, and threw out most of his hospital paperwork. I just wanted to rewind to a point before his cancer was diagnosed.

Not very long after he died, I gave most of his clothes to the hospice charity shop or to a "street pastor" who helps at a homeless night shelter. I didn't like seeing them all hanging there waiting in his wardrobe. I did keep a couple of key garments that had associations with happy times, along with an assortment of his personal stuff (wallet, phone, favourite beer mug, etc). It didn't take me long to spread my own stuff into most of the space that he had used!

One task that was very much his was to look after a chiming clock that once belonged to his grandfather. I am remembering to wind this as instructed, and get unreasonably anxious if it stops or needs resetting; his photo sits very close by, and I feel that he'll be disappointed and upset if it stops. That song "My Grandfather's Clock"has a lot of truth in it: I bet a lot of clocks have stopped "when the old man died", as he was the only one who knew how to keep them going! But so far it is ticking away nicely.

Posted by

Isn’t it ‘funny’ the things we find we share in common. 

I sleep with / wear Martyns blue shirt he wore EVERYWHERE. Much like the Maroon shirts you could buy Martyn all sorts of nice things but he always went back to wearing the same old thing time after time. 

He also was a bit obsessed with technology and we have in ceiling speakers and the sofa has to be positioned with a tape measure to make sure he was sat perfectly in the middle of the speaker system…. And he measured the space round the sides of the receiver to make sure it was exactly in the middle - etc etc. I have quite a high tech set up and I dread the day something goes wrong. It was his absolute pride and joy. Right now I couldn't move it or change it, it would honestly feel like a betrayal. Crazy. But there you go. Truth be told one day I will change it all round to make room for a table, but that is probably about 20 years away. 

I have his sick bowl which I went to through out after the horrendous sick incident, and found myself sobbing over it - it's been on this journey with us from day 1. And his chemo book and his tourniquet and all the hospital letters and CT scan reports. But I did get rid of all the drugs, needles and associated paraphernalia on day 1 back home. I also have his aftershave although there is not much left in there so I might buy some more. Is that mad? I don’t much care if it is I don’t suppose. 

I also have everything else so all the happy memories too. I will start a scrap book when I find out his leather book things we bought years ago - they will be nice to make into scrap books. And I am about to start putting together our wedding album now I feel strong enough. 

I’ve promised I will play his last PS4 game he bought and was so looking forward to, but never got to play. I do not game so this should be fun…! But I will do it. May be with some help from his nephew. I have reconnected the PS4 after we had it at his Mums and everything is put back to where it should be. 

Then there’s others who have got rid of so much stuff so soon and to me that would be like ripping my heart out and then trampling on it in hob nail boots! I do like the Grandfather Clock...  

We all cope in different ways. For me it is slowly slowly catchy monkey. That’s a saying right? 

Love to all - hot chocolate with nice frothy milk before bed for me tonight - that should help with the diet. 


Posted by

There is indeed comfort in knowing we are all as bonkers as each other :) 

I still have ALL of Helen's clothes, and each time I look at the roll of green sacks vs. the piles of her clothes, I think "ah, that can wait a few more days/weeks/months/years". I've already picked out the best bits, my favourite reminders, and I too sniff hats and scarves on a frequent basis. And so many handbags! What are you lot like with your handbags?  

I dumped all the medical stuff downstairs fairly quicky, out of eye-shot. Me and the kids didn't want to live in a "hospital". They are still there too! I phoned the collection people yesterday to be told they had no record of ever delivering them! They are looking into it. In the meantime, I'm thinking of entering our local soap box derby on the commode.  

I've strategically positioned photos of my darling little H in every room, so I get eye contact all the time (probably sounds creepy, but doesn't it all?).

I am actually welling up here now thinking about it, perhaps I just don't WANT to get rid of my darling's stuff? I suppose a time may come, but that time is not now. I want to remember not forget.

As always, this forum is awesome for sharing and caring.

Thanks all.

Virtual hugs x

Posted by

Between you and Julia we will soon be masters of a vast army of memory monkeys and bears :) nothing can stop us!

Posted by

I still have all of Davie's clothes, shoes, aftershave, wallet, everything, I just can't part with any of it right now. In fact it was only a week or so ago that I put his toothbrush away, but his watch, wallet, glasses and mobile are still on the coffee table where he always left them, so to put them away is like put Davie away!

I did get rid of the medication, oxygen a few days after he passed, along with his work uniform - he was still officially working when he passed and didn't much care for the job - so no tears shed over parting with them.

I have a memory box of some of his things, birthday/Christmas cards, concert tickets, photos etc and I keep popping things in when I find them, it always makes me cry as I shouldn't be putting 'him' in a box as he should be here with me.

I guess one day, whenever that might be, I will sort his clothes and give them to charity - he was such a snappy dresser, but until then then can stay in the wardrobe.

love and hugs to all

Terina xx

Posted by

Hi Terina, I'm the same for my Helen (e.g. perfume, purse, etc.).

I have a memory "carrier bag" right now, but it will become a "memory box" in good time.

Each item is a powerful memento that takes me immediately back to the moment we spent together.

I can see it, hear it, feel it.


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Hi TheoCult (if that really is your name... ;-) 

I also have a memory plastic bag and memory plastic tub in which the aforementioned medical supplies were stored. However there are plans - grand plans! I hope I manage to stop short of an actual shrine... 

I have looked up memory boxes online and see they are all quite small - I think there's a gap in the market for a memory crate... but for now I shall make my own. But it does need to to fit a lifetime of memories in ... .there is always the spare room (once I've built walls and ceilings there will be anyway - oh my life is a bit of a mess, so many projects...).