Monday, April 9, 2012

Grief's timetable

If there is one things I've learned in almost 14 years as a bereaved mother, it's that grief has its own timetable -- and mine may be quite different than yours (or yours, or yours, or yours).

Last Saturday, on impulse, I started going through my overflowing closets & armoire, weeding out some stuff to take to Goodwill. I was in a rare purging mood (normally I'm a bit of a packrat -- much to dh's despair), & I decided to strike while the iron was hot. : )

I paused when I opened one of the drawers where I keep my nightgowns. (It was almost hard to open, because it was so overstuffed.)

After Katie was stillborn, I snapped up anything & everything related to Classic Pooh (which was to have been the theme for her nursery). Classic Pooh was quite popular at the time (less so these days, it seems), and one place where I could indulge myself was the lingerie store. A couple of the lingerie chains were selling nightwear with Classic Pooh motifs, & I would buy them whenever I saw them, sometimes the same design in different colours. Over time, I amassed quite a collection.

I prefer nightgowns to PJs, and short to long. Some of the nightgowns were longsleeved, more for winter & fall; some shortsleeved or with spaghetti straps, for summer. Some were cotton T-shirt style; others cozy flannel.

I took great comfort in my Classic Pooh nighties, those first few years, their warmth enveloping me. I felt like it was a way of keeping Katie close to me.

I still wear some of them (I have a lot! & I rotate them, so they don't wear out as fast. I have other non-Pooh nightwear too).

But lately, some of them -- especially the longsleeved winter ones -- seem to be almost TOO cozy. Sweltering, even, in a way that they weren't 14 years ago. Global warming, maybe?? (Umm, yeah, that's it -- it couldn't possibly be -- cough, cough -- perimenopausal hormones, now, could it??)

Others just plain didn't fit any more. Some have shrunk. My shape has changed. I've grown out of them.

I felt a brief moment of sadness as I stroked the soft flannel one more time and fingered the Pooh motifs on them.

And then I folded them up and put them in the bag to take to Goodwill.

*** *** ***

(Just to be clear -- I still have enough Classic Pooh nightgowns to keep me cozy for many, many nights to come. And there are one or two of my favourites that I won't be parting with any time soon, even if they are getting pretty worn.)

(And also to be clear -- my maternity clothes are still in my closet. I still don't see myself giving those away anytime soon.)


  1. I understand hanging onto them, and know it must have been hard to get rid of some of them.

  2. I have things I've kept for sentimental reasons that I just can't get rid of. But every couple of years I try again, and each time a few more things go out. I'm looking at something sitting on top of a set of drawers right now - I bought it almost 20 years ago for the child we thought we'd have sometime. I need to give it away. But I can't quite do that. I can only imagine your affection and emotional connection for your Pooh nighties.

    Can I also say that your title and opening paragraph is absolutely perfect to describe this post?

  3. I totally agree. We all have to get rid of things in our own time, or never. It just is when it feels right for you. These things can't be rushed or hurried along. I know I tried to speed up my grieving over having cancer, and that was dumb. Healing is such an individual experience.

    I love the comfort the pajamas bring you. The image brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  4. They're all little parts of a big story -- the little tangible pieces. Of course it's difficult to part with them, even if you still have other parts in reserve.

    I too save way too much stuff (I'm full of what ifs) but when I get the desire to purge, I have to take advantage of it or wait until the mood strikes again. Because I get too emotional to part with things otherwise.