Just about me, and stuff...

It is all temporary

Everything is temporary, as much as we like to think it isn't, it really is. It is only when you suffer the loss of someone close to you that you begin to realise how temporary it all is.

Six months ago, I lost my wife, Samantha. It was a very short chain of events really, she was admitted to hospital on 22 November, her birthday, and passed away on 15 December, we laid her to rest on 23 December. Happy Christmas everyone!

I am 53 in a few days, it was never part of my plan to be a widower at this age. I knew there was a 50/50 chance that this would happen, Sam would be a widow or I would be a widower, that is life & death, but I wasn't expecting that either scenario would be for maybe, another 20 years or so.

We go through life experiencing death in different ways. From George the fairground goldfish, who did a sterling job of surviving for quite some time, despite the peril I put him in as a toddler, to grandparents, then latterly parents.

We expect and to some extent accept this, we are all born to die

"Did you come here to die?"

"No I came yesterday"

— Brummie Elephants


I don't think any one of us really understand or know, how much 'stuff' we have in life. Clothes, gadgets household items, kitchen things. It is all just there as part of your life, or combined lives, things that are there and get used or are there and you will use them one day. It is only when one part of you goes, do you see the extent of all this 'stuff'.

I now have the task of sorting out all of Sam's 'stuff', I'm not a great one for wanting to wear her clothes, so they will all need to be sorted and disposed of. Some have gone already, scruffy stuff for walking dogs, or wearing around the house, these have been bagged up and put in to a local clothing bank.

Once you start to get it out of wardrobes and drawers and you can see it all, it is frightening how much of it there is. I'm sure we have all seen the reality TV shows where they help a family to rationalise their lives, and are shocked at all the stuff laid out, honestly, it isn't all that different when you start to do it yourself.

While I was sorting through all of this I was thinking about my stuff, clothes in particular, unsurprisingly, I lost some weight because of all this.

No bad thing.

Now I have a load of clothes that don't fit me, and to be honest, I don't want to be able to fit in to them again, so my stuff is being rationalised, how many pairs of jeans does one man need? I reckon on three or four pairs in the future.

So far I have gotten rid of four bin bags of my clothes, and I honestly don't miss anything, because it was stuff that was a bit tight but I kept it thinking I'll get in to that again, now I can get in to it, I realise that I don't want to. Getting rid of it is cathartic, it really is. I think part of the moving forward in to a new life on my own is about divesting myself of things I don't need. This could be physical stuff, or just random stuff that I am involved in, it can go, unless I really want to keep it.

In the past our ancestors would have been buried with their stuff, to take on in to the next life. This worked because burials were cheap, things were made to last and there was a greater belief that there was something more after you shuffled off your mortal coils. Now cremations are expensive and putting the Kenwood food mixer and the good crockery in the box, is somewhat frowned upon. So it is down to those of use who are left to sort it all out.

Without sounding morbid, we are only here temporarily, and we should think about this a bit, not a lot, don't dwell on it or let it eat you up, but remember, it is only temporary.

Think, do you need that thing, think before you buy. Do you need it? You can want it, but do you need it? Can you get rid of something you already have to make space for it? When you are in the house, have a look at stuff, mainly the stuff in cupboards, the shed or garage. Do you need it?

If you don't need it, move it on, do your family a favour, clear the clutter for them so they can remember you for who you were, not the twat with three broken strimmer's, two random window frames and 13 half used tins of paint that they can't get rid of.

If getting rid of something is an arse, and that is why you haven't done it, it will be more of an arse to get rid of for your family when you've gone.

Or maybe you don't care about it being an arse for them..

My dad used to embrace the getting rid of stuff, but I think he went a bit too far at times.

I remember talking to his best mate Phil, after my dad's funeral, he said, JR always wanted to be the best he could at what he was doing, he didn't need to be the best, just the best he could be.

When he decided to clear some of his stuff, he was the best he could be, he really cleared some of his stuff, there was no sentiment or thinking that me or my brother might want some pictures from when he used to road race on his bike. He didn't want to keep the pictures, and that was it, they went.

Thankfully, my mum managed to recover some bits that I now have.

These past six months have taught me that I need to be a bit more like JR but with a little bit more sentiment.