Saturday, April 12, 2008

melancholy bed linens

I have been sitting in the rocking chair in my room for a period of time each day staring at our bed and crying. I am trying to muster up the courage to wash the sheets. I tell myself, "Jeff would laugh at this. He'd think I was being silly and sentimental. They are just sheets. They aren't him." But he slept there. There are 'Jeff germs' on them.

I 'saved' the sheets from the bed in the spare room because of the same reason. They are folded neatly, with his towel he used that morning, the clothes he passed in and the clothes I was wearing that day in my closet. Do I need to add the sheets from every bed in the house? No, but it is hard to do.

He slept with Olivia for a time the night before as well because she was crying. I'm having a hard time washing her sheets too.

I sit in the chair and tell myself, "You can do it. They should be washed. You have other things that Jeff touched too." Then I sit there and sob.

I usually wash the sheets once a week. It's driving me nuts....But I don't want to wash him away.

Everything that changes in the house takes me farther away from him. I have a hard time dusting because I heard that dust is made up of 85% skin cells....some of those cells are Jeff's.

I have a box of hair in my closet along with the clothes and sheets that I'm hoarding. The day he died, my sister and I scoured the house looking for hairs in the bed, the bathtub and on the floor. I didn't want to lose anymore of him.

Am I crazy? Please tell me that I should wash the sheets. Tell me it's okay. He would want me and the kids to be on clean sheets, right? I'm just being silly and sentimental, right?
I think I've lost it.


Anonymous said...

I am blown away by your honesty... what a gift! Not only is it an extremely important and beneficial way for you to make your way through the healing process... but you are helping so many others as well! Your children couldn't be blessed with a more wonderful mother. Honesty, like yours, is going to heal the world, not just yourself- which it will as well. You're amazing... I'm so grateful that I met you.
-Wendy + Serena +Dagen +Lukey

Neurotic Chic said...

It's OK to wash the sheets - and it's OK to wait, too. (((HUGS))) The beauty is that he is still with and among you even if the sheets run through the washer and dryer. There is also beauty in the fact that sleeping on unwashed sheets for a time won't harm any of you either.

It's OK to give yourself time if it's needed. Be gentle with you and what your gut is telling you is good for you right now. And it's OK to wash the sheets, too. You won't betray him if you do that.

Maybe, and now you may think I am crazy, when you do wash the sheets - you could collect some of that wash water and spread it on your garden or lawn or a special tree. Or maybe someone who sews (do you?) could patch together pieces of all those sheets into a big, warm quilt for you and the kids to wrap yourselves in.

Don't you sometimes wish there was a guidebook? sigh But thank goodness there isn't because everyone grieves differently - there is no right or wrong. Thank goodess we aren't bound to someone else's idea of what is "right" or "crazy".

Neurotic Chic said...

Also, check out this wonderful, soothing link if you get a chance sometime:

It is based on a book called "Tear Soup" and it is wonderful. Lots of warm advice, tips, etc. It may be a comfort.

kirsten said...

i don't think you are crazy at all. i think it's an honest attempt at keeping a piece of your life held together. i think i would do the same.

be kind to yourself and do what feels right. if you hold onto the dirty sheets for awhile, who cares.

i have been thinking about you.


Anonymous said...

Save a sheet or two, put it in a plastic bag (that doesn't smell like plastic) and keep them for as long as you need to. I loved the idea of using the wash water for some of the sheets. Allow yourself to do and allow yourself to feel whatever it is that comes to you in this moment in time.

Rach said...

What ever you need to do Jackie. I would keep some things, safely packed away... xxx

Krista said...

Awwww, this post is so you. I can just hear your voice saying these things... and you're so normal (or equally as crazy as the rest of us!?) by thinking these things.

The comments here are amazing. I love the water idea, too. I can understand how you would want to preserve and protect every bit of Jeff around the place. I'm so supporting you in all of this! Thinking of you today. Call if you were still worried about that water leak, can send Todd out in a jiffy.


ummi said...


I had the same think like others. You was so honest. For me, that's the way to cope..the natural grive and to be sad and feel confuse. That's normal.

If you don't feel all that, than I will be worry. This is the real you..The person who just lost her beloved husband.

Some people think they are coping, but they can't even wrote a word. But you keep writing everyday! It's nice for you to do that. For me the way you cope is the way it needs to be done.

It's natural. You don't run away from your feeling, emotion and yourself. That's what you need.

Take you time, sweetheart..God bless you. I'll pray for you..

Anonymous said...


I'm coming out of lurkdom to tell you that it's okay to wash the sheets and it's also okay to feel everything that you're feeling.

I hope you find some peace in knowing that no amount of soap and water will ever wash Jeff away.


Anonymous said...

to Piglet (and Pooh)-
Promise me that you will always remember: you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

Love, Christopher Robin

Anonymous said...

if you can't wash the sheets then don't. personally, i think you should keep everything any way you want. right now it's all about getting through the day and taking care of yourself and your family. no big deal if you want to save every sheet in the house.
just an opinion...

sarah sawatsky said...

I would be in big trouble for washing my daughters " doudou" that's her blanket it's probably been a couple of years ( for real since the last time she got sick :) and she sleeps with it every night the other day I smelled it and thought this is horrible( It really wasn't that bad) but to her that's her smell and that's why she likes it so much so I let it go she feels safe with the blanket as it is, and it still smells and It's still wonderful to her so I would say buy yourself a couple second hand sets of sheets and give yourself time. Keep them all :) and wait for the right time, you'll know. I love the blanket idea, you could save them to make a quilt out of all of them for each one of the kids. ( better get someone to make you one :) you don't need extra projects.

thegoodwitch said...

I wouldn't wash the sheets either. Do what you need to do and know that those sheets could go forever and never be washed. I still have clothes from grandfather, who passed away 11 years ago, that I have never washed just so every once in a while, I will pass them in the closet and they might possibly smell a little bit like him. Your grief is your own, respect it and let it run its natural course. You're being brave enough as it is!

13mimosa said...

You haven't lost it - at least not any more than you should have. I say, if you don't want to wash the sheets, don't. If you want to hold on to them for now I say fine. Have you got other sheets, if so, use those ones. I don't see anything at all wrong with holding on to all the things that make you feel more connected to him. By saying, they're only sheets, well they are, so what does it matter if they stay unwashed.

My husband is a Geoff and I remember when we were dating, I used to miss him then when he went away that I'd always get him to leave me a sweatshirt so I could hold it at night - that sense of him was enough to make it bearable. It's no comparison, don't think I mean that, but heck, if you feel better for holding on to those things - do.

Victoria x