Hanging on

After feeding Nathaniel his breakfast, I’m loading the dishwasher and my mind starts to wander.  I think to myself, why is it so hard to move on and let go.  I’m talking little things- not saying that I should move on past John… I don’t think that will ever happen.  But simple things like packing up his clothes or putting a car up for sale or figuring out what I’m going to do with my horse numbers.

I started going through clothes a tiny bit a few days ago and stopped shortly after I started- in tears.  Things like his black LiveStrong shirt

Me, John, & Nathaniel at the Miles for Melanoma Walk - September 2008.  John wore his black LiveStrong t-shirt a lot and even more after he got sick.  Just the words LiveStrong really embodied how John lived his life- even to the end.

Me, John, & Nathaniel at the Miles for Melanoma Walk - September 2008. John wore his black LiveStrong t-shirt a lot and even more after he got sick. Just the words LiveStrong really embodied how John lived his life- even to the end.

or his flame boxers that I bought him back when we were still dating.  Then the answer comes to me.

We as a people tend to like to hang onto things.  It is easier to hang on to something than to let it go.  We grieve over losses, regret mistakes, and can’t move on past broken hearts.  We keep around things just in case we might need them again.  We save baby clothes even though we know our childbearing days are past us.  Often we let clutter fill our lives.

Maybe I should look at it in a different light… we collect things.  But often what we collect will never become a valuable antique.  Quite often what we collect is well… just junk.

I hope in time I’ll be able go through clothes and to some extent move on past the grief and just enjoy the many memories.  I know that will take time and nobody knows how much time.

But for now, it’s easier just to hang on than to let go.

About Mary K. Smith

I was widowed in July 2009, when I lost my beloved husband, John, to melanoma. Cancer SUCKS. We have a young son who was just a year old when his father died. I live on a small farm in Maryland which is home to horses, cats, and a dog. I started this blog as a way for me to heal, a way to remember my husband, and eventually I'd like to share it with our son so he can see the love that his father had for him, the love that we had for each other, what a great person his father was, and how hard his father fought to live.
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4 Responses to Hanging on

  1. Tonya says:


    Whenever you’re feeling ready to get away I’m just a couple hours south of you….Bring Nathaniel down to VA for a weekend. Its nothing fancy here, but you could relax a bit and get an overdose of puppy kisses and farm fresh eggs!

    • maryksmith says:

      Awww… thanks for the offer. What part of VA are you in? My parents live in Staunton. Nathaniel LOVES doggies- he’ll excitedly point at them & exclaim, “DOGGIE!!!” He’s not to sure about doggie kisses yet, but boy he likes seeing dogs! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail mbsigns”at”hotmail.com

  2. Lexi says:

    Have you heard of flylady. Its a free support network that helps you to declutter you home/life and to establish routines that help you stay on top of things rather than always struggling. Its not perfect, and on flylady perfectionism is a dirty word. You do the best you can and she helps you along the way all for free with daily emails, cheerleading, and feel good challenges. One of my favorite things when I was getting started was the 21 fling boogie. She challenges you to just go and put 21 things into one of two bags (give away or throw away), You can start anywhere and everything count from a gum wrapper to an appliance. Do it every day for 15 minutes and things start getting better quick. The biggest thing that motivates me is how she gives tips to help your children learn to be more organized and start routines so they don’t struggle like we do.

    You absolutely will need to keep and should keep some of Johns thing. However, I’m finding that as much as I think that it is a comfort and that I want to keep things like the “horse numbers.” We keep them to spur a memory, but we need to learn to just keep the memory or to photograph the item and throw it away. I feel much better a couple of days after they are gone. Once you have a mess its hard to mind if it gets bigger. I would go after that type of thing before moving on to Johns things (except those that make you feel more sad than happy). For me I find that keeping lots of memory items, especially paper ones leads to me keeping lots of things that aren’t even important.

    If you or your family have any friends who sew maybe they can make a quilt for You or Nathaniel out of some of his t-shirts and clothes. This is not one more project to add to your to do list, its a project to delegate to someone who wants to help.

  3. petrinab says:

    as I clicked on my own tag about hanging on…i stumbled across this post. my heart felt what you wrote. wish you well.

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