IS THIS THE TIME TO BLOG?

Tell me, is this the time to blog?

I’m not blogging. What I’m doing is taking Bernie’s clothes out of his dresser and closet, all part of a big inside-the-house move. People are coming in and I’m completely overhauling three and a half rooms, not to mention cleaning out the basement.

But you are blogging. You had a big memorial for your husband 5 days ago in New York, and before that several days of meetings. Now this move. Aren’t you tired?

Exhausted.

So why are you blogging?

Because I have to blog. I have to write. I have to let people know about all the stuff coming out of the closet. Like that good-looking bathing suit my mom bought him when we took her to Maui.

Looks like new.

Bernie wasn’t much of a swimmer. That tuxedo? He only wore it once, for his son’s wedding. And that one pair of dress slacks? Part of the outfit he bought for the pre-wedding weekend celebration, which included a good white shirt, his one and only sports jacket, one and only tie, and one and only pair of dress slacks, only when we got there he discovered he’d left the slacks behind and had to wear that dress-up stuff with his faded old blue jeans.

So give yourself time, relax, have a hot bath. Stop writing!

Carhardt flannel shirts that we got from the Greenfield outlet. The ragged lined jeans shirt he wore day in day out in winter. Hawaiian shirts of all colors that he wore the rest of the year.

Go downstairs and make yourself a cup of tea, play with the dogs. Don’t rush off to the computer to write things down, you’re too obsessive.

See the yellowing white shirts? He wouldn’t wear them, he hated white shirts. One belt, two ties, 334 pairs of suspenders. I bought the t-shirts after his stroke, spending all day in the hospital and then stopping at Holyoke Mall on the way home to pick up the pants and shirts he needed for rehab. He’d always bought his own clothes till then, I never had to wonder what size pants, what size shirts.

What’s that red plastic tub you put everything in?

A well-meaning friend told me to put the clothes in large garbage bags and bring them to the Salvation Army. Garbage bags? Forget that. Instead I put all his clothes in this great red tub that Bernie’s friend, Chuck Lief, once brought us, filled with Jewish deli food like pastrami, corn beef, rye, sour pickles, lots and lots of stuff. What better place in which to put his clothes?

So go and sit a bit. Take a walk. Go into the woods you love so much. Call up a friend and go out to—why are you blogging?

Because I have to. I have to write about this.

You think you’re the only one who’s ever lost someone? You think this hasn’t been written about before?

Lots of times, but not by me.

And what makes your experience so different? What makes it so important?

It’s not important at all. Only it sends my fingers flying on the keyboard, don’t know why.

Nothing as mundane as death. As mundane as that dead mouse in the bottom of your birdfeed bucket that you found this morning.

I’m dismantling a life. Shirt by shirt, sock by sock, pillow by pillow. I don’t have much control, life continues to go on, using me and trillions of others for its purpose. There’s just one thing I want, one thing I need: witnesses.