This weekend has been tough for all of us. Something about packing up Himself’s shops felt a little like packing *him* up, because so much of who and what he was, was represented in those shops. his creativity, his love of inventing and improving and quiet thinking…those were all represented by his shops.
About 80% of his woodshop was loaded on a trailer by UFD, the brother in law, to be gone through and sold off gradually. UFD was told to take his pick of whatever he wanted, since he is also a woodworker. There is also a pile of fine lumber he can have, walnut and oak, hickory, maple and cherry. Himself was going to make us a bunch of bedroom furniture out of the cherry and maple. It is fine stuff- curly maple and old growth wild cherry, which is much darker and more red than the stuff you see today. I am ok with it going away. Himself made a couple of pretty small tables I will enjoy using. It was pretty hard on UFD and Himself’s parents to do that though. They kept having to come in to the house for break, so they could breathe. I only went out there a couple of times. I still get a little freaked out thinking about all that wonderful stuff, those fine tools and all, being gone. He made a couple of pieces of shop furniture that are staying, a tall workbench and a funky cabinet for small tools. That might even come into the house, because it is rather pretty.
#3, Dad, and Friends have been clearing out the other workshop.Even though it was in a small room, somehow Himself managed to fit more stuff into it than was in the 18×24 barn in the back yard. That has been hard on #3…and there is a lot of stuff that was Himself’s taste…WW2 propaganda posters, a bunch of GI Joes, things no one else wants, even in Himself’s memory. I am not sure what will become of those. For now they will continue to hang on the wall, out of everyone’s way.
Right now, the battle is the anxiety and sorrow of seeing stuff go. Part of me is screaming NOOO! but the practical part knows it needs to go. I am not getting rid of Himself, I have had to reassure the kids of that. I have a big photo album of Himself through the years, doing his thing and kid things and generally capturing his personality. There are all those pieces of furniture in the house, everything in my sewing studio (Desk, many shelves, a unique and incredibly practical cutting table, a pretty cabinet with a hutch) Every time I go in there, I will be surrounded by stuff he made. Every time #3 sits down to the work desk, he will be sitting at a desk Himself conceived and built. #2 gets the big recliner and funky lamp, #1 has the tall, tall bookcase, sturdy and oak. We all get to have something that was Himself’s, as well as wonderful memories.
Every time one of us feels puckish and frisky, we can pull out a gun Himself customized, and shoot at clay pigeons. or turtles in the pond. or a target 1000 yards away. I can smile as I shoot the .357 Colt Peacemaker he gave me as an anniversary gift and we both laughed at the irony of it.
No, Himself isn’t put away. His stuff, that would have been a burden on my shoulders, that is being peeled off like skin, and it hurts, but it is burned skin and has to go in order to heal properly. I won’t be cheerful for a while, because I am hurting. But I also cannot run away from it. It has to be dealt with. I am grateful for family, that is also hurting, being willing to help. I could never do this on my own.