Your coat still hangs in the cupboard under the stairs.
I’ve cleared it out so now it’s on the peg
Rather than just dumped on top of all the crap.
I found a t-shirt that smelt of you.
Dirty obviously, at the bottom of a bag of clothes
I’ve folded it and put it in your drawer
Where your t-shirts, so many t-shirts still remain
After sitting for what seemed like hours just breathing it in.
I hope it smells of you forever.
The bag you last used for hospital, on the floor in the kitchen
The flat caps you insisted on wearing, the straw hat I searched for, for holidays
Now on top of the wardrobe, positioned so we can see them.
No new pillow on the bed beside mine
The black panther print pillow, unchanged, stored in your wardrobe on top of your shorts.
The duvet you used downstairs now up in the loft.
Your toothbrush hasn’t moved from the place you last left it.
Your deodorant, aftershave, shower gel, all still where I found them
Just a little straighter on the sides they sit.
I keep the envelopes and scraps of paper you’ve written on
Nothing ever important, saved from the bin as it’s marked with your scruffy scrawl.
The spare drawer of your bedside table now home to your bits
The things I find as I’m tidying and sorting that need a safe home
All the bulky stuff we had in the house
Apart from the wheelchairs you bought yourself, I’ve not decided where they’re going yet.
And the black crutches, I’ve put in the loft, because I just couldn’t let them go
The stuff we needed to help
Help make life a little easier
Help keep you independent.
All the stuff I used to moan about
And you were reluctant to get.
Knowing it meant you were not as able as you used to be.
The stuff that got in the way
That I would hang the towels on in the bathroom,
That I would stub my toe on
Or would block the TV
The stuff that made me angry
Not at you
Nor the fact you needed them
But at how unfair everything was.
The shower chair, the walking sticks, the crutches, the ramps, the zimmer frame, the bed thing to help you sit up you never got to use.
Now no longer here.
I thought I would be glad to see the back of it
The stuff that added to the clutter of every room.
But I wasn’t
Just another reminder that you are no longer here.
I’m sorting and chucking and decorating
The plans we had for the house I’m seeing through.
But your stuff
The stuff that reminds me of you
Sparking memories, moments, smiles and tears
Still in the place where you left them
Or in the spare drawer of your bedside table
Now home to the bits too precious to throw away.