Wednesday, 5 October 2011

'Letting go'

  • How many times do you put off the inevitable?
  • What are you avoiding?
  • What is stopping you from moving forward?
These were the questions I considered with respect to clearing Clive's clothes. It is now 7 months (31 weeks) since Clive died. Apart from re-decorating the master bedroom and moving the office into the smallest room (as we had planned) the house and garden are as he left it.

There have been many times I have found comfort in his clothes - wrapping the sleeves of a big coat around me; trying to smell for any last trace of him amongst his shirts; stroking the lapel of a business suit remembering the pride I felt seeing him on stage.

One of Clive's many expressions was 'let it go'. He often applied this to upsets, grievances and 'things'. We had sold many of our joint unwanted items last year to redecorate the lounge and had also bought new furniture and a big television with the proceeds. We had enjoyed finding, describing and selling our 'stuff' - the evening the sale was to end we'd get excited and tot up the amounts. He also cleared the house of many items of memorabilia with the belief that it was better to let someone else create new memories with them. Clive told me that all we really need is carried and remembered in our memory and heart.

In recent years he had also begun to be passionate about helping the homeless. So along with his sister, Lynn, we decided that he would rather his clothes went to them than just be hanging around - literally. As the autumn is upon us now seemed a good time. Putting items on Ebay would just break my heart even more. Knowing Clive he would rather a jumper of his kept a homeless man warm than anything else.

So Lynn and I set to. Boy was it hard. Each item took me down memory lane. T-shirts he wore on our cruise: scruffy stuff he wore in the garden or for decorating; shirts I had lovingly ironed for him; keep-fit gear he had sweated in! We put music on and bit by bit went through wardrobes, drawers and cupboards.

Several times I burst into tears. In some ways it seems like only yesterday he went. In others, it feels an age. Yet the fact is, he HAS gone. He won't be walking back in any time. He won't be sitting on the drive in his beloved car. He won't be around to give his bear hugs. He won't be singing or laughing for us to hear.

So what use are his clothes here? Each time I began to cry I pictured a homeless man smiling in receipt of some of his clothes. Maybe someone will be able to go for a job interview because there is a suit for him to wear? How life-changing would that be? How proud would Clive be? In the cold months ahead a man may be walking the streets with warm and cosy feet because he has Clive's socks and boots on.

Our pain was lessened at the comfort of making other people's lives easier and happier. Clive's purpose was to be a permanent inspiration to anyone and everyone who seeks it. I hope by sharing his clothes to others they may be inspired in some way.

I confess that I have kept a few things - his slippers included.

But generally it is all now packed up ready to go to their new owners.

On completion of one of the worst tasks I have ever done I actually feel a sense of progress, although my tummy was tied in knots. It doesn't mean I love him any less but I do feel we did what he would have wanted. That helped.

Also sharing the task with his sister who had known him all his life, was relevant, appropriate and MUCH appreciated.

Clive often spoke about creating space in your life. By clearing things out it enables you to move forward. This is an area I am still battling with but bit by bit as my career regrows with my confidence, I know the direction is up. I am excited to be the keynote speaker at Business Mums Unite conference in Nottingham next month, for example.

The task of clearing Clive's clothes is a good example of his theory, which he shared widely, about tackling challenges using belief, motivation and support.

In this instance I believed that Clive would have wanted his clothes to benefit the less fortunate. I believed in doing so it would ease my pain. I also believed that it is good to create a space in your life/environment as that provides the opportunity for renewal and growth.

My motivation was to help others especially those linked to the Emmaus charity, whose ball I attended recently.

The support came from Lynn. I could not have done it without her time, encouragement and strength. Likewise those who will support the next stages with it.

To let go does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off,
it's the realization I can't control another.
To let go is not to enable,
but allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
it's to make the most of myself.
To let go is not to care for,
but to care about.
To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their destinies.
To let go is not to be protective,
it's to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny,
but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more
To let go and to let God, is to find peace !
Remember: The time to love is short

Author unknown

So I ask again
  • How many times do you put off the inevitable?
  • What are you avoiding?
  • What is stopping you from moving forward?
  • What belief, motivation and support do you need to cross that gap?
Elaine x

No comments: