Do you ever think about all the crap you have hidden away in your house that someone is going to have to deal with if something happens to you? The clothes you have outgrown, the boxes you didn’t get around to unpacking the last time you moved, the keepsakes that you bought on a trip or vacation, your kids things that they said they would come and get but didn’t, that box of unknown stuff stuck in the back corner of the closet….

I have an overwhelming urge to do some “clearing out of crap” in my house. I am assuming that this is part of my grief over loosing my Dad. My brother and I had to go through some of Dad’s things before we left Georgia, but not everything. My brother owns the house, so we didn’t have to totally clear it out yet. That will happen in a couple of months. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing. I didn’t want to do it while we were there, but I am not sure I want to have to do it later. Part of me wishes we had it done already so I don’t have to see his house or his things go out the door. Yet there is a part of me that is glad that we did have to do any more than we did, because it hurts.

I thought that going back to work right away would help me deal with Dad’s unexpected death, it usually helps with other stresses, but not this time. All I could think about was how I wasn’t going to get any more lectures, hugs, help, love, words of advice or to ride motorcycles with him any more. I would be ok as long I kept my mind busy with something else but as soon as there was a moment of silence, my mind went straight to my Dad and I would be fighting the tears.

My Uncle Buddy and a couple other friends told me that it is ok to cry, that it does not mean that I am weak, but it doesn’t feel that way. Even now as I sit here alone, writing this, I tear up and immediately start fighting letting them fall down my face. I know there was a time in my life that I could allow myself to cry but since going to Iraq, I find that it is harder to do. And letting someone see or know that I have been crying…oh hell no. I just can’t let that happen! I don’t want them to feel sorry for me. I do not need their pity! My Dad lived an amazing life! No, he was not perfect. But he had overcome his addictions (around 30 years sobriety) and now he had great relationships with his brothers and sisters and with me and my brother. He had lived an adventurous life through riding his motorcycle and he died doing just that. Riding his bike on his way to meet me in KY for a week of riding. So why should I be so sad? I hope that I am in as good a place when it is my time to go.

I really thought I was ready to go back to work. My brother went right back to work. I know I am not there and do not see how he is doing in the quiet of the night, but he seems to be able to work, so why can’t I? Why can’t I be as strong as he is? He was just as close to Dad as I was! But as much as I try to keep my mind on other things and telling myself that “life goes on,” “Dad would not want me moping around,” and all the other things you tell yourself after the loss of a loved one to keep from totally falling apart, I just can’t keep my mind from thinking about the fact that I will never get to do anything with him again.

In with all this going on in my head while trying to drive and work, I had this “NEED” to go home so I could clean the crap out of my house so my kids don’t have to do it if something happens to me and how I just HAVE to do it NOW!  I also HAVE to finish that Will that I started last year and never finished. We may not have found a signed copy of Dad’s Will, but my brother and I knew what Dad’s wishes were. He had been telling us for several years now. Though we still have to finish going through Dad’s belongings, he really didn’t have LOTS of crap stuffed here and there. I am thankful for that. It is less stuff we have to go through, donate, give away, ask family members if they want, decide if we want it or just throw away. That means less pain.

Since my job is dangerous on a “normal” day, my head not being on the job was not good. It could get me, my driver or someone else hurt or killed. So I called my boss lady and asked if she could get someone to take over the load I was escorting so I could come home. I know I need to break down and have a really good cry. I know I need to allow myself to “feel” this loss. And I know I MUST get rid of some of this CRAP hidden around my house.

Once I got home my son told me to just sit and be lazy for one day. He said I could do the “clearing of the house” tomorrow. I spent all of yesterday creating a video tribute of my Dad. I cried a little but found myself still fighting the tears every time. As long as I focused on the mechanics of how I wanted each effect to act for each photo and each transition I was ok. But as soon as I really looked at Dad’s face in the photos it would hit me that I was never going to see that face in front of me again. I would never see him riding his Goldwing behind me in my rearview mirror. I would never hear the light banter between him, me and my brother about Harleys and Goldwings. And I would be fighting tears again. I got the tribute finished and uploaded to YouTube late yesterday afternoon. It was good to do it, despite the pain that I felt, because I did actually smile and/or laugh a few times. I have some really great memories with my Dad and that is what I want to remember. Not that he is gone. Is there a right time to cry? Could I just not be “ready” to cry? Is there such a thing as being ready to cry? Can I ever cry or allow myself to cry?

This morning I got up determined that I was not going to cry today. I am going to clear the crap out of my house so that if something happens to me, my boys will not have to deal with it. And later today, I want to sit down and finish my Will. I want to get it printed, signed and a copy to each of my 3 boys. Whereas I hope that my boys will get along as well as my brother and I are, I don’t want there to be any fighting when I am gone. I have been so lucky that my brother and I are the people we are and there has been none of that. Maybe we have just seen other families never be the same after fighting over a loved ones possessions, but we each seem to be working very hard to make sure we are fair to each other and follow Dad’s wishes or what we think he would want.

Anyway, I got up and started in on the closet in my bedroom right away. I got most everything out of it when it hit me that what I am doing may be part of the grief over my Dad. I tried to look on-line for a list of the “crazy” things people do after loosing a loved one. I found lots of websites and first-person-stories about grief, but none of them seemed to address this issue of wanting to clear my own crap out of my house. Despite the fact that MANY of my friends would tell you that I am NOT normal and that I am “not quite right,” I wonder if this is “normal?” Do other people do this? Or am I just loosing my mind?

Written by WhiteRose


Marsha Hamby Savage

Funny you ask this particular question because I had to go to an art event in Blue Ridge… Founder’s Exhibit… which meant the wife of a friend that passed away last September from Cancer was there. I don’t particularly like the woman, she was not a good friend to many artists in the group up there. But, I spoke to her about her work, and we started talking. Her husband had been a legend in the art community up there. She said she was just now feeling like she was going through the grieving because after he passed away, she just kept busy by cleaning out everything, cleaning the house, etc. Sounded just like what you are feeling about getting rid of the crap.

I will also say, that sometimes something will remind me of Frances and I will tear up and even have a few tears fall… and it has been 43 1/2 years since her accident and death. It will never totally go away. But, you will find yourself talking to Albert (I talk to Frances sometimes) and even asking him questions about what he thinks about what you are doing. It feels good to do that. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like a weakling for crying… but we do need to let out those pent up emotions. That is not good to keep inside you. Grief is normal, cleaning out the crap is normal, or whatever way a day feels it needs to be spent… go with your gut! Your gut is mostly never wrong. Love you, cousin!


Cindy I agree with everything Marsha has said. Your working through your grief in anyway you have to is fine with all who love you. I think the most logical thing is realizing what your loved one will have to do if you should pass is normal. Especially since your Dad’s passing was unexpected. You realize your own vulnerability and don’t want your loved one to deal with “stuff”. I remember when my Dad passed and it was so hard for Mom to have to go through his stuff and get rid of it. But it is a process which is helpful to our minds. so you do what is necessary…and do not worry over it….I think it is normal what you are driven to do. Love you and appreciate you….thinking and praying for you daily….it is a daily process.


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