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Life, grief, and laundry

March 4, 2018

 

 

Life happens while we are doing the simple tasks like laundry. 

 

The day after my husband died my house was filled with family. Everyone was sitting around my kitchen table and I just couldn't muster up any conversation. My insides were exploding. My head was pounding. My phone kept ringing and Facebook kept alerting me to more posts...."I'm so sorry about your husband."  My heart was burning and I felt like I wanted to get my kids, get in my car and drive far away and never come back. To ground myself to the earth? I went into my basement and did my dead husbands laundry. I washed and folded his work uniforms. I gathered up his worn out jeans and crumpled up t-shirts off the floor and I washed them. I folded them into piles for the last and final time. 

 

Grief is messy. Laundry is dirty. Life happens inside of all of this dirt and mess. 

 

Life took my husband but it left me his dirty clothes to wash. 

 

Grief took my self-worth but left me with grace inside of my heart and grit in my pocket. 

 

I haven't washed a man's clothes in over 900 days. 

 

No picking up of dirty man socks on the bathroom floor. 

 

No finding his boxers piled up in the corner of the bedroom. 

 

No ironing work uniforms late at night so he would have something to wear in the morning. 

 

We take for granted so much in our lives. We complain about cleaning up messes and about dirty laundry on the floor. One day.......you might wash that dirty laundry for the last time. 

 

Life. 

 

Life isn't a fairytale that you were told as a child. 

 

Marriage doesn't always last 50 years. 

 

Life gives us people and it also takes them away and within all of that time and mess there is also love, happy days, laughter, and joy. Embrace the good days and when grief enters your home? Lovingly take care of yourself the best that you can. Ground yourself to the earth with simplicity, nature, and solitude. 

 

So many of my memories in my house have me standing at the washing machine. I focus in and I see me at so many different ages.......24, 27, 28, 31, 38. I have stood there and discussed big life topics with my husband. I have stood folding clothes while bouncing a baby on my hip. I stood there just 4 days before my husband put a bullet to his heart and I told him that I felt like he was being distant from me......I cried telling him that while folding his underwear and he just blankly stared at me.......I only now know that my soul could feel him already leaving and he only stared at me because he had already planned his departure. I have stood there and taught children to match socks while they giggle. I have cried big silent tears while I folded the very last piece of my husbands clothing that I would ever wash. 

 

Be grateful for the dirty laundry piled up on the floor. It means you have people in your house to love.....it means you have a family. 

 

And your grief? It comes with layers and layers of dirt and messy emotions but they can be washed clean with love, empathy, and grace. 

 

This is life.......amazing, hard, joyful, sad, messy, beautiful, dirty and filled with moments that happen while we are just doing the laundry.

 

Moments we will never forget. Moments that shape who we are. 

 

 

 

 

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