Jody’s Clothes

My dear wife died in November, 2014.  That December, I walked into our closet with the finest intention of getting her clothes out of the house.  I lasted half an hour.  I kept finding articles of clothing that I loved seeing Jody wear, many tops and pants that I’d washed with tender loving care.  So I walked out of that closet.

Then there were fifteen months of co-existing with Jody’s clothes, trying to block their presence from my mind.  That didn’t work.  A glimpse here, a glimpse there … a memory here, a memory there.

A few days ago, and again today, I began again.  Still a few tears but it was easier.  I slowly folded each of Jody’s things and laid them in large transparent bags.  They gazed at me from within.

Jody loved colour.  Right now I’m looking at a pair of funky pants in a jungle motif.  The greenest of leaves and the reddest of orchids interspersed with lions, tigers and leopards – all looking quite fierce.  Jodiette was in her element wearing this explosion of energy.  And here are soft flannel jammies, adorned with sheep brimming with wool against a pastel blue background.  Even when she was sleeping my beloved was a fashion statement!  Finally for your inspection is a vibrant top that looks like a patchwork quilt.  No pastels here.  Instead there are deep shades of purple, pink and green, with strands of material standing up beyond the surface of the garment, highlighting gay flowers.  Oh my wife.  That’s so you.

This afternoon I took five full bags to Goodwill.  It makes me smile to imagine the expressions on women’s faces when they find Jody’s treasures.  They’ll wear them well.  My dear one is happy.

Clothes

I started one day a month ago but I couldn’t handle it.  I stopped.  And this morning I began again.

I know that I need to get Jody’s clothes out of the house, but it’s hard.  So many memories of my darling wife enjoying her bright ensemble.  One of the first items I looked at was Jody’s wedding dress.  What a fine day that was … June 25, 1988.  My sister-in-law Nona said that I could put the dress in storage, but that didn’t feel right, and it still doesn’t.  I’m going to give all of Jody’s clothes to Goodwill.  Right now, I’m looking at a 24×36″ poster of my lovely wife that’s hanging on our family room wall.  She’s beautifully wrapped in the dress and veil.  But all that whiteness is not the woman I love.  “Let go of my clothes, Bruce.  They’re not me.”  Okay, Jodiette.

My favourite photo of Jody is of her sitting in a Quebec City restaurant, looking at me.  She’s wearing a short-sleeved top, with horizontal stripes of light and dark blue.  When I found it hanging in our closet a month ago, I held it to my chest and cried.  “Let it go, Bruce.”  So I did, folding it gently and adding it to the pile in a huge clear plastic bag.  Sigh.

This morning, I made an agreement with myself to work on Jody’s clothes for an hour.  I kept my word.  But now I’m exhausted.  An hour in a closet … remembering, crying and packing.  Also marvelling at the beauty of Jodiette’s tops and pants and dresses.  The colours of the rainbow, reflecting my girl’s embracing of life.  How I miss you, dear one.

I held a scalloped green-turquoise-black dress, adorned with glitter.

“You’re so pretty in these pretty clothes, life wife.”

“Thank you, husband.”