If I Could Wear Your Clothes, I’d Pretend I Was You

I came across a shirt yesterday. A man’s dress shirt, fine white cotton,athletic cut, french cuffs, beautifully made. It was David’s favorite shirt, it fit him well. It showed his wide shoulders, long body, and small waist to best advantage. He looked damn good in it. Nobody else could ever wear that shirt.

I laundered it, pressed it, and hung it my closet. His closet in now my closet, just like everything else he ever had. Most of his clothes are gone, I’ve keep a few things, most are packed away, but some things stay. The good things, the things that defined him, the things that made him unique.

When your love dies, in some ways, you become them, not just legally, but in a much deeper sense. You are the closest thing left of them, you incorporate them in ways you never thought possible. Just as you could finish their thoughts in life, you finish them in death. You have their voice. It can be so intense sometimes it’s hard to tell your voice from theirs, but there is no confusing the source of that voice.

You hold on to the irreplaceable, the core of who that person was, the preciousness of memory. To suggest they could be replaced is an impossibility, it denies both my worth and the strength of the true memory of my love. Nobody else could ever wear that shirt, and I would never pretend to dress anyone else in it. It belonged to David.

There is a strange duality to widowhood, if you haven’t been here, it’s hard to understand. Having loved doesn’t keep you from loving and sometimes the message on both sides of the unmistakable border of what was, and what it is now, is the same. Don’t let go.


3 thoughts on “If I Could Wear Your Clothes, I’d Pretend I Was You

  1. Oh Addie I so get this, though not in a spousal kind of way.

    When I was very young and upset I would sneak into my a mom’s closet, put my feet in a pair of her shoes, fold all her tacky 70’s dresses around me and breathe in her smell until I felt better. A year ago I found her wedding dress in a box in the basement. I washed it and hung it in my closet with a pair of tacky old heels below it, just for the memory. Two days ago I went upstairs, put my feet in the heels and folded the dress around me until I felt better. She’s been gone for almost 20 years and I’m the only person who knew her and still remembers. It sucks to know that you are the last thin thread connecting the life of another to this earthly plane. At the same time it’s nice to know that someone holds that connection still.

    Huge hugs. I can’t imagine losing a partner so early but I also can’t think of anyone other than you who would remember and carry on that legacy with such beauty and grace. ♥

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