I have become quite obsessive in the last couple of months.  I can't throw out anything that has to do with Terry.  I have things like his empty cereal box from the hospital, water bottles, receipts, envelopes, utensils, cups etc.  I can't get rid of anything even if its garbage and I am so protective over it.  I have gotten really upset with my kids for touching or moving things.
Terry and I used to watch "hoarders" on tv.  I couldn't understand why these people  just don't throw the garbage out. I would get annoyed and comment throughout the show and in turn annoy my husband.  He would say for me to just stop watching the show if it bothered me.  Now, he is dead and I now understand why they cant throw anything out. 
Just when I thought I knew so much, God pulled the rug from under me and everything I knew was gone.

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I have to say I was much like Lois on this one. My husband's first wife had been dead 5 years when we married and he still had all their things everywhere in his home. It took us that first year to get rid of stuff cus I had him do it room by room with me in case their was sentiment in things. He did great making the home mine and then we ended up finding a lovely home in South Carolina and moved on our first anniversary. I was so grateful we had "cleaned house" that year so we had just what we wanted when we moved. When he passed this year, my daughter came and helped me go thru his things. I knew I couldn't handle this job later on my own so made myself have the courage to "clean house" now. I had decorated one guest room with all his childhood sentimental things when we first moved so my daughter helped me just add more of his things to that room (including the collage photo frames we made for his memorial service). It has worked perfectly and we both call that "dad's room". When my grandson chose to move here too with my daughter I discussed with my daughter about "dad's room". Luckily she agreed my grandson had to take the other guest room because neither of us were ready to change dad's room yet. (My daughter & SIL are in my basement apartment but it wasn't large enough for the 3 of them so grandson moved into my portion of the house). Daughter had helped me put aside some of dad's things for family members and they seemed very happy with those. Luckily Bill had been of the mind to distribute his gun collection and tools to his friends and men family before his death which was a terrific help. Our pastor was here when Bill did this and was amazed Bill had the fortitude to do this. He said it was a wonderful idea and he had never witnessed anyone doing this. The people involved were overwhelmed but now tell me how happy and special it made them feel for Bill to do this. It meant so much more to all of them sharing the moment with him than me telling them this was what he wanted. My SIL has now made the workshop his and works with the farm machinery which brings many memories to me. Try this "one room" if possible. It is a big big help to have the things but not everywhere. I can go there when I need time with Bill alone. Blessings to you on your journey. Beginning is the hardest as Lois said..
Hurting, I agree with you. I have not done anything with my husband's things. His clothes are still in the closet, his things are still in the shower. I sleep holding his pillow each night. I did move his lamp to my side of the bed and cried the whole time I was doing it. i did rearrange my living room and move his chair where I can sit in it. Just couldn't sit in his corner it was just too painful. Some day I will try to deal with these things but right now I am just trying to make it through each day without him.
Debbie, same with me. It doesnt bother me to not have done anything with LouAnn's clothes ,toiletries. Everthing is where they were. Even at the dining room table are all the things for her to dabble with. Clippers,nail file,scissors,comb,ect..It doesnt bother me a bit to have it left like that either. Its our house and her stuff. Hurting, just do what you want. Its your decision and no one elses. Hugs to all. Hugs are good.
I don't think, in my opinion, that this is hoarding or obsessive behavior. It's called grief. Once in a while if there is no need for me to keep a particular item that didn't belong to either of us, I'll get rid of it. But his clothes and his personal effects are right where he left them which is in his closet and his bureau, still there, and his wallet is right near his prescription sunglasses and his regular glasses. I also still buy the same products that we purchased together. I have this need to change the least of how I live or things I keep. I just figure his possessions are mine now. I have read or heard other widows say we do whatever feels right for each of us. One woman donated every article of clothing her husband owned the day after he passed away. I just don't have the heart to do that. I guess she felt she needed to protect herself from the pain of holding onto him since he was no longer there and wanted to do it as soon as possible rather than feel the pain of going through his clothes later. She grieved in other ways. But me, I feel it is a safe haven to leave everything the way he left it, for now anyway. Everyone is different.
God bless,
Suzanne
Greetings, Basia,

I do not think there is anything wrong with you, neither do I think you will be the next featured person on 'Hoarders'! You will keep what you need to keep, and donate/discard what you don't in _your_ good time - you are fine the way you are!

I am completely different - being a neat freak and computer geek, the day after Byron died, I gathered his things into an unused room - clothes, shoes, books, his desk, the non-Chagall artworks (I kept all the Marc Chagall pirints) - these things I donated to my prison ministry for their Thrift Store. I cleaned out his bathroom, I sent 3 pairs of his glasses and his hearing aids and batteries to the Lions' Club.

I also had to clean out his office (he was a clinical psychologist) - I went through every file cabinet; his colleague told me I had to keep 7 years' of records for each patient unless the patient was a minor, then I had to keep the records for 7 years from the time the person reached 18 years of age. I consolidated fifteen (15) file cabinets into two, sent forty (40) _extremely_ heavy bags to the shredder company; filled to the brim a Dumpster, returned the credit card system to the bank, the phone system to the answering service and donated the rest of the office equipment (file cabinets, printers, fax, copiers, etc, etc) to my prison ministry (who was very, very happy to get them!)

His colleague agreed to be the Custodian of Record, so I took the two file cabinets of records to him (these were the four-drawer, large cabinets) at the colleague's other office.

I then sent out 2,000 letters to former and current clients (using his patient database) informing them that he had died, and letting them know where their records were, in case they wanted access to them.

Reading all this - it seems that I was compulsive/obssessive, perhaps, in a DIFFERENT way - I wanted to organize, clean up, clear out - get his office closed so I'd never have to walk through that door again, because it was agony to do so every time I had to.

I made a Memory Box of the most special things to me - his doctoral dissertation (he was a Psy.D.), his DSM-IV Manual, his hood from his doctoral graduation, family pictures, our wedding pictures, the silk bouquet I carried on our wedding day, the bottle of champagne from our 1st wedding anniversary (we were married for 1 year and 9 months), his high school yearbook and awards he'd won, his diplomas, even his _slide rule_ - things like that. I often open this Memory Box, and pull things out and remember.

Some would say - why did I throw so much out? Well, I kept the most precious things, the things that meant the most to me, to us - and I am not right or wrong, and neither are you, dear Basia.

Comfort, healing and peace be with you - Yaca Attwood Perkins

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