This past weekend I was putting some clean laundry away in my closet and I noticed a couple of the tee shirts I use for working out were starting to look worn out.  I had just recently bought a couple of new “high performance” wicking tee shirts to replace the old shirts but had not yet disposed of the old ones.  I held on to the old cotton tee shirts because I like them better than the wicking material on the new style.  However, I knew it was time to let them go and move on.

I decided that since I was in the mode of cleaning out my closet, I would just go through all of my cloths and decide which ones to keep, throw out or donate.  I have always enjoyed being organized, it gives me peace.  Some would call this enjoyment obsessive, but it gives me peace of mind.   So getting rid of clutter and disposing of things I no longer need or use really doesn’t feel like a chore to me.

As I was going through my closet, I was tossing all kind of old shirts and pants; I was making a lot of progress.  Many of the items were still in very good condition and only worn a few times for whatever reason.  It made me feel good to know that I was going to be able to donate these items to Goodwill and that someone was going to be able to use them. 

All of this progress came to an end when I came upon a blue and white striped long sleeve shirt that I purchased at Gap back in October of 2004.  I typically do not remember specific days and times when I purchase things, especially almost 7 years ago, however this shirt was different.

I remember the day I purchased this shirt because my wife and I were out shopping for maternity clothes for her and decided to make a quick stop into the Gap.  We had been out earlier that day looking for a crib and other furniture to create a nursery for our beautiful baby that was coming home soon.   We had gone through extensive fertility treatments to get to this point and we were excited about all of the things that go along with being a first time parent.

Within about 3 weeks of that day, we lost our beautiful sweet baby girl Katie.  Every time I see that shirt I think of her and what could have been.  I think about how much her mother and I were robbed from a lifetime with her.  I think of her often, but that shirt always reminds me of that time when we had all of the hopes and dreams of what our lives with her would be like.

Needless to say, that shirt is still hanging in my closet today and will never be donated or given away.  It may eventually make its way to a keepsake box we that we have for her, but not yet, not today.

Do you have items in your “closet” that you do not want to part with?


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User Comments ( 13 )

  • John Wolfe

    We just finished moving a lot of Allison’s things to our house from the house She and her husband, Sean, were living in at the time of her death. We own that house and Sean continued living in it for a while, but he’d finally had enough and felt the understandable need to move somewhere where the memories weren’t so strong. As a result, we had to go through all the things he didn’t want to keep and bring them home with us.

    There are many clothes, but there are also pictures and other items not only from her childhood but from the various hobbies she took up when she started living the married life. Some items we gave to her nieces and nephews, but most are still piled up in 3 separate rooms in the house. That doesn’t include the 8 Christmas trees and tons of Christmas decorations, which are all stored in my shop. All of this will need to be gone through eventually, but neither my wife nor I are in much of a hurry to get it done.

    Due to her sudden death, an autopsy had to be performed, so the family agreed it would be best to have Allison cremated. Half the ashes are with Sean and the other half with us, and she sits on our fireplace mantle, always watching over us as we continue our journey through life.

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  • My wife and I have kept Zayana’s nursery the same. We have taken some things out but most of the items like the crib, changing table, rocking chair are all there. We even went as far as transfering all of the items we had set up on the table at her memorial service into her crib. These items include one of her favorite outfits, some of her favorite books and toys, three 8×10 pictures of her, her favorite balloon, casts of her hand and foot, and her ashes along with other items that remind us of her. Every night my wife and I pray over the crib, thank God for helping us get through another tough day, ask him to give our Z a hug, and sing our little girls favorite lullaby to her before we go to bed. Some nights are tougher than others but we find that this gives us peace. It was also our routine when she was still with us. I dont know what we are going to do when we decide to move. The thought of taking any of this down makes me sad.

  • It’s been a little over two years since we lost Quinn and the house is still filled with his things. For the most part we’ve kept his bedroom intact and his shoes, sports equipment and various other items still litter the garage. Little by little we’ve cleaned things up, mostly giving mementos of his belongings to his friends as keepsakes. Perhaps the biggest loss over the past couple of years has been the other sensory loss, smell. The way in which smell triggers memories is perhaps more powerful than other senses. Even though his cloths hang in the closet, and his possessions are in his room, time has taken away that sense of smell. In a way it’s kind of ironic, Quinn being a typical teenage boy, the last thing you thought you would wish for is savoring one more opportunity to smell him again.

  • Steven stuart

    My wife and I have many of Colin’s things saved in his room, which is still the way it was the day he died. It gives me peace to be able to sit in the rocking chair in his room and feel him there. I often take a few moments of my day just to go in and sit and quietly talk to him and let him know how much I miss and love him. The strange paradox about having his room and his things unchanged is that no individual item evokes emotion, but it is the collective “presence” that I feel in when I am among his things. The room was to be his space, his stuff, and just his…so now it is still just his but in a different way.

  • Dustin

    Kelly, our daughters room is just like it was when she left to go see a movie with her future sister-in-law on september ,24 ,2010.and they never came back. A bookmark in the book she was reading, her backpack with college textbooks, her art that she was working on, the DVD case of the last movie that she had watched laying on top of her TV, we did make her bed up,and washed her day before clothes that she had wore. It is coming up on 1 year and it is tearing me down BAD. Take care, Dustin

  • Erika

    kelly, i have a whole BOX in my closet, and my closet is tiny. truthfully, i need more room in there but i will not move this box. it is a large tote full of all of my son, erik’s, things. they are the clothes he wore, would have worn, and all of the things he collected in his three months on earth. i can not stand the sight of this green tote. every time my hand brushes it, my stomach gets upset. still, i can not move it. i can’t imagine what i will do when we move. i don’t know how i will deal with it in another house, but i think i will put it back in my closet. it upsets me, but i need it nearby.

    i will tell you something else: there is another box i keep close by. erik’s ashes are still where they were placed by the funeral director, in my glove compartment. i can not touch the box, i can not open the glove compartment. i have important papers in there, but i can not get them out and i will not let anyone else go in there, either. when i think of touching the box, of feeling the weight of the box, i get very ill. i don’t know how long it will stay in there, and i have a feeling that when the time comes that i have to move it, i am going to have a partial breakdown; but for now, it’s in my glove compartment and that is where it is going to stay.

    my son, arthur’s, ashes are on the piano. i didn’t put them there, my sister did. i can not touch that box, nor look at it. one day, my youngest son, juice, was playing with some stuffed blocks. he walked to the piano, looked right at the box, and tossed a block at it. the block landed perfectly on top of the box. i will not touch it, and will not allow it to be moved. it is a contact, a connection, and maybe the only time my sons will play together.

    • Erika,

      Although I have not experienced all of the things you described above, I totally get it. There are certain things that I still will not do, one of those things is listen to songs that take me back to that moment when I received that bad news. If they come on the radio, I change the station. Some things are just to hard to do.

      I have both of my childrens urns at home and it provides me with peace knowing they are with me. We all respond differently to the various things we go though, but we all understand each other. Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts on the struggles with “cleaning out our closets”.



  • I am a living history museum, my mother says. That started when the kids were little though. I kept every little note, card, drawing, report card, etc. they did. They’ve always been displayed, framed artistically and so forth.

    Then when my daughter died, her apartment moved into my apartment. I wouldn’t let anything of hers go. I’ve incorporated everything of hers into my life and you can’t even tell what’s mine or hers. But I know….oh I know.

    • Sherry,

      I get the not letting go of her stuff. I didn’t have much time with my daughter Katie or my son Noah, but the time I did have and things that remind me of them are still with me. I have made duplicates where I can and have place them in a lock box incase something happens to them at home.

      Thanks for sharing.



  • John Geraci

    Interesting post — because I was cleaning out some things in an antique armoire that we have and came across an old stained glass jewelry box. I opened it and was surprized to see a photo of my daughter Leslie. I lost her on July 1; so I am still in disbelief. In this photo she’s about twelve and just on the edge of becoming a young woman. I see the joy in her face, the innocence and my heart breaks. She had her 45th birthday on June 1 and one month to the day she was gone. I feel your pain at the loss of your Katie’s potential and am grateful that I had all those years with Leslie. But, as you know, it’s never ever enough. Children are not supposed to go before us. Peace be with all of us.

    • John,

      Thanks for sharing your story and thoughts on this topic. I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter Leslie. You are so new to this journey and have a road ahead of you. I want you to know that I am here for you when you need to talk and there are a lot of others on this blog that are also here for you.

      Hang on to the photo and all the memories. They are truely priceless and often times sent to us by our children.



  • It is true that memories tend to cling to clothes.. I’ve made a patchwork blanket out of some of my dad’s old shirts and I am glad to have at least a little of him still with me.