Updated: Mar 17, 2020
Almost every inch of my house holds painful memories for me. The most painful ones are not what you probably imagine them to be. The most painful ones are the happy ones, and they are all over our home.
They are painful because they confuse me. They are the memories that my husband has twisted and stolen by telling me they were not real. Telling me that I knew he was lying to me day in and day out for 24 years. In an effort to rise each day and put one foot in front of the other, I’ve tried to curb the pain. I do that by avoiding the scenes of the crime.
I avoid his office. That’s where we camped out and binge watched our favorite shows.
I avoid our upstairs family room. That’s where he came in and excitedly gave me the card with that poem. That beautifully silly and romantic poem announcing his gift to me of Bruno Mars concert tickets.
I avoid the kitchen. I can still feel him slip up from behind wrapping his arms around me and softly kissing my neck while I’m at the stove.
I avoid the mud room. That’s where he squeezed my butt and said good bye in the mornings.
I avoid the shower head on the right side. That’s the one towards which I faced when he would pop his head in, kiss my breast, and pop back out of the shower.
I avoid. I avoid. I avoid.
But I avoid my closet not because it’s one of those 'happy/painful' memories, but because it’s the most 'hurtful/how dumb am I painful' memory I have. That’s the scene of an encounter between me and him that makes me feel so violated and stupid. If you’ve been following me and my story you’ll know the one I’m talking about. I won’t recount it today because today I’m giving that memory the middle finger by not rehashing it. What I will do, however, is tell you how I’m planning to take my closet and my house back from my husband’s ghost.
He left more than a year ago in September 2018. His ghost has lingered in here ever since. Scaring me. Saddening his children. Robbing us of sleep and robbing us of our smiles. We’ve been so afraid to face his ghost that taking care of our house has been quite difficult. We live in a chaotic, disorganized, and junky space. Not anymore. Beginning with my closet, I’m going to clean this bad boy up! I used to be such a neat organized wife and mother. It was a pleasurable part of my life to walk in a room in my home and see it beautiful and organized.
Now, I can barely stand being in my own house.
I come in and go straight to my room and pretend not to see. I pretend not to see the places that hold good memories. I pretend not to see his calm face lying to me when I go into my closet. I’m going to pack up the little bit of his clothes that remain in there. I’ll get rid of the last bit of my old clothes that I’ve been holding on to. This is going to be so good. A clean slate. A whole walk-in closet to myself. I get to go shop for my new body and put my treasures away in that grand space.
I’ll get to walk to the back of the closet and have a seat in my prayer space. I’ll talk to God and tell Him thank you for bringing me so far. I’ll tell Him what I want for my future, and I’ll sit uncluttered in my prayer space and listen for God to talk back to me about what He has in mind for my life.
I’m not completely ready to do this. Not really ready at all. But I recognize it is time. It’s time to exorcise the ghost of the man who used to live here. It’s time to get cleaned up, prayed up, and glammed up. It’s time to be Ree-Ree again.