Thursday, 13 September 2007

Charity Shops, Memories and Articles of clothing

"We can't take much you know", was the curt response from the volunteer within the Charity Shop this morning as I handed over a small bag and a man's sun hat. Just a minute I thought, don't you realise you insensitive woman that these last few remaining belongings of my lovely deceased man have, in just two seconds been reduced to only 'things', and things that seemed no more than a nuisance to the elderly woman with a severe countenance who stood before me.

I walked quickly out of the shop and heading back to my car thought; she is of course right. They were only things; articles, the last remaining earthly attachments to him. Three days of clearing and sorting cupboards, drawers and boxes has made me feel somehow liberated, and while it hasn't been easy, the tears have been few this time. I re-read some of his cards to me over the last ten years - smiles at his tender thoughtfulness. Most of his things were given to charity last year, but somehow I couldn't give away a few pieces; a tie I'd bought him, a favourity sweatshirt, his big familiar outdoor coat that still had his smell within, which brought the few tears, and of course the straw sunhat that we'd bought for our next holiday, and which we never reached.

For a couple of days he was back here with me and the decision to part with these few things gave me pain, sorrow, tears and smiles. I had a choice; give them away or keep them and keep a shrine made up of articles. I have my memories and my photos - I have no need of articles that someone else may need.

Charity shop assistants - compassion and empathy would not go amiss, no matter your age or experience of death!