The items belonging to Shawn that I have kept are random.  Some things are sentimental like his guitar or love notes.  But, I don’t necessarily have a system for what I keep and what I don’t.  For example, I have every one of his ties hanging neatly in our closet.  Or is it my closet?  They look nice and orderly.  Maybe it is for decoration.  Or maybe it is because I am not sure what one does with 50-some various ties after a person dies. 

Today I found an assortment of earplugs in the nightstand on his side of the bed.  This seems like it would have been one of the first “non-personal” things to let go of falling into the same category as a toothbrush or the dentist’s night guard for his teeth.  But, for some reason whenever I come upon these mint-green, foam-shaped earplugs I just leave them in their place. 

He used the earplugs to sleep during the day when he had to work a night shift with the police department.  I completely understand that he will never use them again.  I have never used them.  But, what about the off chance that I need to improve my sleep some night and want to give them a try?  I won’t have to look far.  I will know where they are.  But, this scenario seems unlikely.  Although improving my sleep is something I need desperately, the truth is I most likely won’t experiment with earplugs.  I have the mother’s instinct embedded in me that I need to be easily woken in case my children are up in the middle of the night.

I have removed all his clothes from the closet except for three favorite shirts. 

I have donated all his shoes.

I asked his brother this week to take most of his tools.

But, the earplugs need to stay.  I can’t even say why.  I confuse myself.  They aren’t taking up much space.  If they did would I keep them anyway?  Does it matter?  Do I need to have a reason?  Grief works its way through us without explanation or excuse.  Who am I to question?  Maybe I will just accept that this is the way it is.  Earplugs stay put.  I can work around that.

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