I can distinctly remember the rage filled day that I emptied C's dresser into boxes, how my eyes swept over the very familiar clothes and how I felt that tiny pinch of ache but scooped it all up anyway. I angrily threw everything in boxes, not letting myself feel anything but rage. I tackled our closet next, yanking clothes off hangers and stuffing them into the almost overflowing box. Shirts he had worn when we were teens and shirts I had bought him...I just couldn't stand to walk into my closet and see his stuff there anymore. Hanging there like he was just going to come home and slip back into our life. I swept the entire house; every drawer, cabinet and closet to collect his things. I then promptly drove it all over to his parents' house and stacked in their garage, trying not to give into my MIL's tears or my FIL's pleas to work it out with C. (like I wasn't desperately trying/wishing/hoping/praying for that but whatever)
That was last December. In the following months, I would randomly come across his things even still. It's not easy to untangle 13 years of couple-hood and our lives were so entwined that it wasn't too surprising to me. The anger had dissipated so I actually kept a small box in my study where I'd toss in whatever was his and give to him whenever he stopped by. I found enough stuff that every visit ended with him taking a box. The last couple of months though, there's been nothing found. I guess I finally separated our lives, it only took me over a year. And I'm not going to lie, it was bittersweet to realize. On one hand, it's nice to not be struck by an unexpected memory when I come across some little trinket he loved but on the other hand, I have successfully gotten rid of any trace of C from my house. It's odd.
Not long after I packed up his clothes, I went through the house and took down pictures of him and I went through photo album after photo album removing pictures. It was time to not have his face everywhere but what I didn't realize though was I needed to go through my own stuff and put away anything that screamed C. When the Cowboy started staying over, I quickly realized it though! So, once again, I went through my dressers and my closet. Mainly it was tossing lingerie! But I've kept a lot, there is a box in my attic filled with things. Wedding pictures and our video, a photo album I had filled with just pictures of us, pictures of him with my family, the nightie I wore our wedding night, etc. Stuff that I just don't want to throw away but I don't want in my face either.
Last night I decided to clean out a drawer for the Cowboy. A big step, yes. But he needs a place to keep some extra shirts and socks. I wasn't keeping anything important in it anyway so I tossed the stuff into another drawer that I rarely dig in because it just has pantyhose and rarely worn bras in it. But, there at the bottom, were two pairs of panties that I had completely forgotten about. One had the word "Bride" written in blue across the front and the other had Mrs.Married Name across the butt. And, for the first time in a while, it actually hurt to see something from my married life. I remember buying them online and how excited I was to wear them for C.
I've successfully untangled the tangible parts of our shared life. I just wish I knew how to box up the memories and feelings along with them. There's hardly a memory that isn't shared with him. And while I have moved on from my marriage, it still is weird to have all these memories. They don't really hurt but they aren't exactly feeling me with warm fuzzies either. I hope in time I'm able to make peace with them and learn how to coexist with them. I want to be able to have a nice balance, where I can remember C and smile but not regret that we are over. Where I can smile at the man in my life and be grateful for all the new memories being made.