November 30 will make 3 months since I lost my Darling. Many of his things are just where he left them the last day he was home. His watch, his cell phone and his wallet. Last week I just started boxing his clothes to donate to the homeless veterans shelter. That was his wish. I did two big boxes and I had to stop. Every shirt and pair of slacks had a memory. There are so much more to pack, but I will wait till after the holidays. If you don't mind my asking, how long did you wait before you started this process?

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Dear Linda-

I'm only 8 weeks after losing my husband and I haven't given away anything yet. There are days where I feel like I'm ready to start, but I don't act on that feeling yet. I'm afraid if I do give things away I will regret it. So I take that feeling, hold onto it for awhile and usually I'm glad I didn't do it. I trust that when the time is right something will feel different. I don't know what or how I will feel different, but I'm waiting for it.
Linda,

This is one of those individual decisions that we each have to struggle with. My Tom has been gone 8 1/2 months and I still have no desire to move or get rid of any of his things. As far as I'm concerned they can stay where they are forever. I am in no hurry to erase him from this house. My mom wanted to help me pack up his things and take his coats off the coat rack, 2 weeks after he was gone. I made it very clear, I was not about to change anything. His coats are still hanging on the coat rack in the kitchen, and I'm ok with that.

My mother-in-law recently asked me if she could have some of his clothes, she would like to make them into something for our kids. I am semi-ok with this. I don't mind her taking some things knowing they are going to our kids, but there will still be some things I don't think I will be able to part with.

The concensus is that you should make NO changes for a year, unless absolutely necessary. This gives you time to work through some of your grief and hopefully, give you a different perspective on things after the one year mark. Don't let anyone pressure you into anything you do not want to do. This was and is your life...your space. Let it be what you need it to be.

Marlena (and Tom)
Always and Forever
Hi Linda,
My beloved husband 'John' passed away just 1 month ago, he passed away October 26, 2009. I didn't give anything away yet, his roller walker still in the front porch of my house. his clothes and shoes, still the way he left in our bedroom. even his tooth brush still in the same place. I was talking to a pastor days after my husband died, and he told me that I will know when I am ready to give his things away. So far I am not ready yet. Even his 15 diffferent medications, including insulin still the way he just left. I still no able to sleep in our bed....I just can't, I feel uncomfortable. I just changed the sheets, and bed cover. Question, was your husband Veteran? Cause mine was. Regarding how long you should wait...it is up to you Linda. Do that when you are ready okay.
Hi Linda:
My husband "Billy" died Nov 2, 2009. He was a Marine Veteran of the Vietnam war (did not retire from Marines). I want to appeal his VA denials, and feel that it will be useless - they won't cover his cancer and don't recognize the fact that herbicides caused it. He had Pancreatic Cancer - once it reoccured, it only took about 2 months.

It's almost a month, and I feel like I am going through the motions of life. Today I did some crying - not an everyday thing now. I just miss him and wish he did not have to go. He was "ready to go" and tired of the pain and no quality of life for some time.

The grown kids took a couple of things before they returned home - not much, the rest of his things are where he left them. I now realize he did not have much here. Boots under the chair in his room - he moved to the guest room because the mattress was softer and he slept alone because he did not want to wake me in the middle of the night and said I may touch him in the middle of the night - too painful. I now sleep in his bed to try and feel closer to him - but I can't get closer. I don't want to sleep in our bed any more.

I changed my cell phone contacts to Billy's phone and use it now. That makes me feel a little better.

I don't know what stage of grieving I am in - doesn't really matter I guess, just not sure how to get through all this, everyone else seems so normal and life goes on. "Everything changes but everything stays the same".
Missmylove47 said:
Hi Linda,
My beloved husband 'John' passed away just 1 month ago, he passed away October 26, 2009. I didn't give anything away yet, his roller walker still in the front porch of my house. his clothes and shoes, still the way he left in our bedroom. even his tooth brush still in the same place. I was talking to a pastor days after my husband died, and he told me that I will know when I am ready to give his things away. So far I am not ready yet. Even his 15 diffferent medications, including insulin still the way he just left. I still no able to sleep in our bed....I just can't, I feel uncomfortable. I just changed the sheets, and bed cover. Question, was your husband Veteran? Cause mine was. Regarding how long you should wait...it is up to you Linda. Do that when you are ready okay.
Missmylove,

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm happy I found this forum. I find I am not alone, and I grieve along with all of you.

Yes. my Bo was a veteran. He served during the Viet Nam war and he was in the Air Force.
Dear Sheryl,

My husband Douglas died July 17, 2009 and was also a Marine Veteran of Viet Nam. I want to encourage you to continue the fight for his VA benefit. Douglas was "finally" diagnosed with Parkinson's disease caused by Agent Orange (and let me tell you about the 20 year battle we had with the VA on that one!). Yes, they will want to deny any claim for a disability in order to NOT pay out anything. I am like a bull in a china shop when it comes to veterans and the benefits they are entitled to have. Douglas was diagnosed with PD at the age of 38 and died 17 days after he turned 62. There is no history of PD in the family. A huge study was done in 2004 between the VA and the University of Maryland School of Medicine that concluded Agent Orange (an herbicide) can cause PD. There is a high incident rate of PD amongst Viet Nam and Kuwait veterans. HELLO!!!

I also know that a study was completed by the VA concerning cancer and Agent Orange. Don't you let them tell you different. Get your congressman and senator involved. Call the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) to give you direction. Heck, let the media know that your husband is a Viet Nam veteran who lost his life because of an illness he contracted while serving this country and now his country doesn't want to take ownership or responsibility for what he suffered. YOU are entitled to benefits as well once you get his established -- so I want to encourage you to not give up!! Your husband would want you to be taken care of and his sacrifice for our country should not be forgotten! Heck, I'll help you in anyway I can. I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to making the VA take ownership of what is due -- they tried to mess with Douglas and lost. In fact, we took our case to the appeals level and Douglas was at home on his death bed under hospice when a VA representative came to our home and signed the paperwork so I would have the past due benefit BEFORE he died. If he had died prior to the visit I was going to have to make a "claim" -- my blood boils when I think of how poorly our veterans are treated. And the VA doesn't do any better for the family members left behind when the veteran dies. I had to get my congressman involved for my widow benefit because the VA kept sending the check to my bank in Douglas's name. The bank rejected them every time because they cannot accept electronic funds from the government for a dead person. This is not rocket science!

There are no words to describe the pain we suffer when we lose someone we loved and still love so much. I haven't even thought of packing Douglas's stuff. His clothes are still in the dresser and hanging in the closet. I will sort through them in my time and no one elses. I miss him every day and still cry when I see something he would have enjoyed or hear a song that he loved or pass a favorite restaurant. Have I visited any of our favorite places? One or two but it wasn't easy. It helped me with the healing process and I know in time things will come to pass. I will always have Douglas in my heart. Memories will never die. What gives me comfort is that he is out of pain and suffering. He is running around heaven in a healthy body and watching over me as I try to figure out my "new" normal since my "old" normal has been disrupted and is now gone.

I will be thinking of you and know that you can reach out for guidance and support as the grieving process develops. And I am serious about the VA stuff. If I can help you in any way I will be happy to do so.

In peace,

Brigitte

Sheryl said:
Hi Linda:
My husband "Billy" died Nov 2, 2009. He was a Marine Veteran of the Vietnam war (did not retire from Marines). I want to appeal his VA denials, and feel that it will be useless - they won't cover his cancer and don't recognize the fact that herbicides caused it. He had Pancreatic Cancer - once it reoccured, it only took about 2 months.

It's almost a month, and I feel like I am going through the motions of life. Today I did some crying - not an everyday thing now. I just miss him and wish he did not have to go. He was "ready to go" and tired of the pain and no quality of life for some time.

The grown kids took a couple of things before they returned home - not much, the rest of his things are where he left them. I now realize he did not have much here. Boots under the chair in his room - he moved to the guest room because the mattress was softer and he slept alone because he did not want to wake me in the middle of the night and said I may touch him in the middle of the night - too painful. I now sleep in his bed to try and feel closer to him - but I can't get closer. I don't want to sleep in our bed any more.

I changed my cell phone contacts to Billy's phone and use it now. That makes me feel a little better.

I don't know what stage of grieving I am in - doesn't really matter I guess, just not sure how to get through all this, everyone else seems so normal and life goes on. "Everything changes but everything stays the same".
Dear Linda: Some of us do it immediately and some take a while. Like you I left a lot undisturbed till I literally HAD to. It's hard to grasp this while your pain is still so raw, but each step of this process comes in it's own time and you will know when it's right. Doing a little at a time works for most of us (baby steps dear one), but most important = listen to your heart...it will tell you when it's time to clean out the closets, move the pictures, etc. It would be so much easier if we could be like Samantha in "Bewitched" and just wiggle our noses to get done what we needed. But then I suspect we'd ALL, every one of us, bring our loved ones back to us

It gets easier...one day at a time...one foot in front of the other...it DOES get easier.
Dear Linda - I am so sorry about the death of your sweetie; I am so sorry for your loss!

My husband died on 29 June 2009 - and I am (admittedly) kind of weird; I think it's because I'm in Information Technology (I am a database administrator), I went into "DBA Mode", and on _30 June 2009_, I cleaned out his bathroom (he had the larger bathroom, because he could (for a while) get into it with his scooter), I gathered up his clothing into bags for the local thrift store, I collected all of his things and put them into an empty bedroom for donation to a local prison ministry.

I sent his three pairs of glasses and his hearing aids and batteries to the Oregon Lions Club (and got a very nice letter from them). I had an itemized list of all his business accounts, creditors, credit card accounts, cellphone, etc, etc - I called each and every one and told them that he had died. I went through the Internet and dealt with Social Security; I called all of his colleagues (he was a clinical psychologist).

All of this being said - he had some extra pants at the cleaners, and when I picked them up, I cried over each and every pair; I held them in my arms, I put my face on them, just because they were his.

He died in June, and just now - I finally got his office cleaned up. I sent forty (40) bags to the shredder (I had to dispose of confidential files older than 10 years). I filled up an entire dumpster, all by myself; I made arrangements for the prison ministry to come and get most of the office equipment and furniture; I sent back equipment to the bank (credit card machine, etc); I sent back equipment to the answering service, I dealt with his landlords.

I consolidated all of his other patient files and found a Custodian of Record (it's amazing that there isn't a whole lot of information about what you do if a psychologist or other professional dies). I had the information from all his computers consolidated onto one, which I brought home with me, and I have been going through his patient database, and sending each client a letter informing them of his death and who the Custodian of Record is if they need or want their files.

It took me a while to convince the phone company that he would no longer need to advertise in the Yellow Pages (I sent them a certified copy of the death certificate), and I went back and forth with them. I tussled with a few other of the vendors, but pretty much everyone except one has been paid, and I told them that since he left no insurance, and had no will, that there were no funds left to pay them (I have been paying the smaller vendors from my salary; an attorney I recently consulted told me that I didn't have to, but I felt badly about not paying them)

I will also tell you, Linda, that I broke down _every time_ I had to go into his office to do things - to clean up files, dispose of quipment, make arrangements - I really _dreaded_ having to walk through that door, to be where he had spent so much time (I ended up working for him, during the last months, because his business had really gone down, so I helped him in his office, and I brought my laptop from work, so I could do my work, as well). He was so sick, and in so much pain, and I pleaded with him to shut the office down, but he was determined to see the clients he still had - and he did, until a week before he died.

Dear Linda - you deal with your sweetie's things in _your own good time_ - don't let family or friends rush you - you will know when _you_ are ready.

Blessings, peace and comfort to you - Yaca Attwood
Brigitte:

Thanks so much for the letter. My husband only filed 2 appeals then gave up. Upon my initial talk with the VA they said I should appeal on my behalf. Billy only received benefits for the last 3 years. He was one of the old style vets who did not want to take anything, he did his service and it was over.

I want to persue this on behalf of all those who supported our country and that they all be treated fairly and recognized! you can contact me at swiatt98@cox.net
Dear Sheryl,

I will be in touch! Douglas was also one of the "old time" vets. He did his service and wanted to move forward; however, his body wasn't in sync with his mind set and when he came home from Viet Nam Agent Orange accompanied him. I am fighting to have his name placed on the Wall in Washington, DC. He lived and died as a result of his service to his country. As a result of his tour in Viet Nam Douglas died a slow and painful death. He, and your husband, deserve the recognition as two men who did not shy away when called upon. I loved this man so much. He is my hero and as long as there is breath in me he will get the recognition he so truly derserved.

Have you received your "certificate" of gratitude from the President yet? Again, I will get in touch with you at your email address.

Take care and know that I will be thinking of you as we both go through the stages of grief and bereavement. This too shall pass!

In peace,

Brigitte
Sheryl said:
Brigitte:

Thanks so much for the letter. My husband only filed 2 appeals then gave up. Upon my initial talk with the VA they said I should appeal on my behalf. Billy only received benefits for the last 3 years. He was one of the old style vets who did not want to take anything, he did his service and it was over.

I want to persue this on behalf of all those who supported our country and that they all be treated fairly and recognized! you can contact me at swiatt98@cox.net
Linda ~ My heart goes out to you....first rule: DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO AND NO MORE!!!! It is only 3 months!!!! My husband died almost 5 years ago and I still have a lot of his things. Don't let ANYBODY tell you what to do, how to do it, or when to do it!!!!! THIS IS ALL ABOUT YOU!!!! You will know when it is the right time to do anything. Funny, we are big Philadelphia Eagles fans. My husband had a leather/suede Eagles jacket I gave him. People were telling me to sell it on Ebay...whatever.... I gave that and alot of his clothing (he had tons) to the Vietnam Vets who collect clothing etc. I was so happy to do that because I know some worthy veteran got an awesome jacket he wouldn't have had otherwise.
As well as anything else it sucks. Go thru one day/hour/minute at a time.
Please don't listen to anyone who says there is a timetable for grief.
There is NOT!
God bless you. The holidays suck, Linda....plain and simple. The first year is the worst...it gets more "tolerable" after that.
Email me anytime: elvisrocks1@comcast.net.....
Hugs...we are all here together... :/

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