Without planning it, just now I found myself removing the summer quilt I’ve had on our bed since you left.
Rather than put our winter down duvet on, I had just plopped my college duvet for a twin bed on top of the quilt when it got cooler.
The other side of the bed is usually filled with clothes that need to be folded or put away, books, and other things that fill your space. I push it to the side each night and stay in my space.
But I guess I couldn’t stand it anymore. I love the feel of a clean white duvet cover and down duvet in the winter. I wanted Audrey to enjoy coming into my bed like she used to.
I listened to a sermon on the physical bodily resurrection while I did it, subconsciously to give me strength I think. I packed up our quilt and put it in a giant Ziploc bag. It’s the last thing we slept under together as a couple. As husband and wife.
I spread out the duvet and began the job of putting the cover on. But then I noticed a lump in the top and after finding the opening, and reaching all the way up to the seam, I discovered
a white sweat sock of yours. It must have gotten stuck in there when I last washed this duvet cover.
I remove one of my socks and put yours on for a while. The heal seam comes up to my ankle bone. It isn’t particularly soft and I wonder if you were comfortable in them.
I remember buying you those socks. Those are the ways I loved…buying socks and undershirts when I saw you needed them.
I pull the top of the duvet up to the top corners and the shove in the rest of the puffy down squares. I put the bottom corners into the bottom corners and then I lift, and shake…vigorously. It’s as if I see the wave of down in slow motion.
“You are not coming back,” I say out loud as I lift the bagged quilt up into the closet- the sacred closet where I speak to your clothes that hang there next to mine. “Keeping the quilt on won’t bring you back.”
There is still the matter of the fitted sheet and the pillow cases. I don’t have any others and at the suggestion of a friend have decided not to wash them for now when I do remove them, but just to fold them up. I need to buy something pretty.
So, I sleep under something clean now for the first in seven months. Clean. No lingering trace of you…except a newly washed sock stuck inside- now removed and placed in your sock drawer.
These are the details of grief that no one truly wants to hear. Because I can not dramatize or romanticize the inability to change your bedding when your spouse comes home from Europe in a coffin.
I haven't been able to change my sheets either. Jer's pillow still smells like him and even though it definitely needs washed, I can't bring myself to do it. It won't bring him back, but it seems to keep him close.
Love your writing. You've expressed so many things for me. Thank you.
It took me over a year to change our sheets.