“I’ve lost count of how many times I have said goodbye to you.”
This was the thought that ran through my head about my husband as I took yet another step forward in my life without him physically in it.
It got me thinking about the many ways in which we need to say goodbye.
To our loved ones when they pass.
At the end of a relationship.
To friends who are in our lives for a short time.
To our possessions from another part of our lives.
I have said goodbye to many things in my life, but the one that has created the biggest change in my life and to those who I now connect and work with is the goodbyes to my husband.
I’ve said goodbye many times:
At our home on the day of his passing.
At the funeral parlor.
At his funeral.
When I gave all his clothes to the charity shop.
When I donated some of his music equipment to the music school.
When I sorted through some of his personal belongings.
Even with all these goodbyes, this one doesn’t feel the same. It’s another goodbye, yes, but different in so many ways. This is the day that I start to clear out our family home, where we spent so many of our years together. Making way for a new chapter, a fresh start. Today is the day I’ve decided that I will not be taking any of our collective material possessions along on my journey.
It is this goodbye which is often the hardest in our lives. Whether you are trying to move on from losing a loved one or just trying to declutter the many possessions from your past, it is often difficult to remove the material items that have come to have meaning. Yet if we stop and think about it, these items are not the memories themselves. They are not the person or the action, they are objects in which we have imbued the ability to help us reconnect to our memories. If we really think about it, we can access these memories without the physical objects. We can picture it all within us. It just depends on how we connect to the memories in our souls.
As I clear through these memories and possessions, I have come to realize that to truly let go and to be able to move forward, the things we owned together can no longer be a part of my life.
This detaching is painful. This is often why we cling to the physical objects that are left behind.
They can also add to our clutter. Add to the holding back. Add to all the things that those loved ones would never wish for us.
I could quite easily change my mind, pack everything up and take it along with me, holding onto it like a comfort blanket. Having it there to take out and look at in the future as I remember our time together. Yet I know deep within my soul this letting go is the answer, my way of stepping forward into my new life, into my new home.
I know this in my soul because I know that everything that I need to continue will be packed away safely in my heart. The things that will allow me to cherish all the loving memories that I shared over 24 years together with my husband will continue to give me comfort as I venture out further, finding my feet in this unfamiliar single life.
It will also allow me to move forward without the clutter and the feeling of staying stuck. If we look at all those who move forward with their lives and stay spiritually connected, we can see the truth in this. My journey with my husband is but one example. We can even look at it from the perspective of loss when something is stolen or damaged. It doesn’t cause us to lose the memories. It may cause us pain in the short term, but the memories are still there with us. Still there to be cherished.
Understanding that no longer having the physical items with us doesn’t mean we are losing everything is often the hardest part of letting go. We are taking a leap of faith when we leave things behind as we move forward into new and unfamiliar paths.
The people who have touched our lives, whether for a small time or a long time, never truly leave us. With that knowledge securely inside me, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that although my husband cannot continue on my path with me physically, he is with me spiritually, guiding me forward to become all that I can be, to experience all that life has to offer, as he has been since the day he passed.
It is the same for all of us. The guidance is not in the material objects we own but in what is in our hearts. Sometimes the best way to be able to hear this and take note is to remove the physical, so we can truly see through to the spiritual and live the lives we are meant to.
As emotional as it is, I will continue to clear out our home. I won’t miss any opportunity to give thanks for the part it has played in our lives, remembering the memories of when, where, and why it was bought. Most of all, I will be expressing my gratitude for having him in my life and for the gifts he bestowed upon me, the wisdom and lessons learned. I am blessed and proud to have been able to call him my husband. He will be forever in my heart.
With this knowledge, I also know that each of you, walking your paths from your current life to your beautiful future, also have those you have lost in your heart and have the ability and power within you to clear out the physical clutter to make way for new beginnings and new memories.