My mom has been telling me for a couple of weeks now that AmVets is coming for donations on the 5th of July. She told me that if there was anything I wanted to keep from my dad’s clothes I should take some. I grabbed a couple of Sox hats because I knew I’d be out in the sun a lot this summer and I don’t own a lot of hats. She’s been giving away things of his slowly over the last few months and I’ve been more than fine with it. Our neighbor Sam got some never worn shorts before his trip to Florida. Ryan, who was like a son to my dad, picked out a few ties, hats, and dress shirts. Tony, who was also like a son to my dad, came and picked out some of his ties as well. Zack has gotten a couple hats and a few t-shirts from us since sometimes he’s crashed at our house and realized that he didn’t have a fresh shirt in the morning and his hair was too messy for the outside world to see it.
On Monday she reminded me again that they would be coming for donations on the 5th. She asked if there was anything I wanted and I said I got what I needed. I was fine. I went upstairs, took a shower, got ready for bed, and decided I needed a water. I went downstairs, got my water, and then suddenly I found myself standing in my dads room staring at an empty closet next to a bed piled up with his suits and sweaters. My mom had gone to the garage to get some industrial size garbage bags to put all of it in. His clothes… in garbage bags. Suits that he wore to work, sweaters he wore to usher at church, clothes he so proudly bought for himself at Sam’s Club because they were on sale, and sweaters that I used to make fun of him for were now about to be shoved into a garbage bag and put on the front porch so some guy could take it, throw it in a truck, and deliver it to a place where other people would pick through them and decide their worth so they could be resold. My mom came back into the room to find me staring at all these clothes and in an instant the answer to her question of “are you ok?” was answered.
I sobbed. Not just the kind of sobbing where the tears are big and wet and your whole face goes red. I sobbed to the point where I couldn’t breathe. I was hyperventilating and I was embarrassed and I was mad and I was heartbroken. I rummaged through the pile and grabbed two random things to keep and went back up to my room. I sat there staring at them wondering why did I even grab these? What am I even going to do with them? Why did I take this disgusting dirty San Antonio Spurs jersey? What is with this ugly sweater I grabbed? It has a golfer on it and he bought this before he even golfed what was he thinking?! With all these thoughts running through my head I naturally broke down again. I’m sure my mom heard me gasping for air from downstairs since she appeared by my bedside not too long after I started crying again.
I just kept apologizing to her. Never in a million years did I think I was going to be affected like I was. I honestly thought it wasn’t a big deal… I kept telling myself that it was just stuff. I guess I didn’t realize until it was all laid out in front of me that it wasn’t just stuff to me. It was pieces of my dad. He wore that stupid Spurs jersey nearly every day. I’m not joking it actually has food stains on it still. And that golf sweater? I used to rip on him for buying that sweater so much but he loved it! He wore it to like every nice party we went to until we either bought him new sweaters or forced him to buy some. I suddenly felt like we weren’t just giving clothes away we were giving bits of him away. Like by clearing out his closest we were clearing him out of the house.
I don’t think my mom knew I was going to be like this either. She just kept repeating that it was ok and I shouldn’t apologize and I had every right to be upset. Once I finally calmed down I told her she should still give those clothes away because that’s what he would have wanted- to help others. We compromised though… I couldn’t give away his t-shirts. My dad had so many novelty type t-shirts and I had bought so many of them for him that the thought of having to go through and pick the ones that meant the most to me actually made my stomach flip. So the shirts stay for now.
I expected to not feel anything about this situation. The reality was that I felt everything.
You just never know what is going to set you off but I know it’s ok to get hysterical sometimes. A little hysteria can do the mind good.