My house is a mess. I've probably said that for the last....well, honestly...forever. I dream of being an organized person, but I may need to accept that, most likely, that will never happen.
When my kids died, they were on their way to spend Easter week with their dad in Buffalo. Since my divorce I had been on a couple of short vacations during which they stayed with their dad, but I had never experienced an extended period of time home alone. My plan for that week was to clean. Not to just 'red up' as they say here in Pittsburgh, but to go through all of our closets, all of their toys and all of the papers lying around the house. I wanted to get rid of everything we didn't need and find a place for everything that remained.
The cleaning never happened. Now my house is more cluttered than ever and I can't even blame it on my kids, it's completely my responsibility. I certainly need to organize my own stuff (I have no good excuse for the state of my own room) but I have a hard time disturbing any of their stuff at all...and I mean ANY of it, I'm talkin dirty tissues in the trash can. I just can't do it.
A lot of people have suggested that I can keep their stuff forever and I don't have to do anything with it. I will keep most of it, but some things just aren't realistic. For example, I took them grocery shopping on April 4th, two days before the accident. I bought them a bunch of their favorite snacks, some of which have been opened. They are all still sitting in my pantry... alphabet cookies that Kate and her friend ate the morning of the 6th, Cheddar Bunnies that they ate in the car on the way to Erie and an unopened bag of Pirate's Booty that I will probably keep as long as I live (they were all about the Pirate's Booty). There are fish sticks and Kate's mango-tangerine sorbet in the freezer and Peter's Valentine's Day (formerly pronounced "balance times day") candy in the cupboards. I recently threw out Peter's cream cheese that was in the fridge because it was starting to scare me, but it wasn't an easy thing to do.
Of course I also have all of their clothing and toys and every piece of art or psuedo-art (aka scribbling) that I could find after they died. I even went through the recycling bin for things I might have discarded. There is a lot of stuff. Whereas I wanted to organize and purge every unnecessary thing before the accident...now I want to hold onto all of it. But the truth is, it's just not reasonable.
It's not that the stuff itself makes me feel any better, but I guess it seems like it's all I have left. And, strangely enough, when I think about getting rid of something my brain always says, "hey, they might want that someday", like they're coming back. That's pretty messed up. And sad.
I have considered and looked into having some of their favorite clothing made into a quilt I can wrap myself in, and I will...when I find the motivation. I know that I'm not going to stay in this house forever so someday I will have to pack it all up. The idea of their stuff sitting in boxes sucks.
I imagine that as time passes it will become clear to me what things are important to keep and what I can let go of. So far, what has made me happiest is giving their things to people who knew them and truly appreciate them. Occasionally, I get a feeling that Kate or Peter wants someone to have something specific and I get very excited to get that particular item to the right person. It makes me feel good and I think it makes Kate and Peter happy too.