Today the last of David's items went out the door. All week I have been going through his stuff, throwing away papers no longer needed, saving little trinkets for my kids, the grandkids, a few friends. My feelings were strange as I tossed, deleted, sorted, donated and distributed stuff. Part of me felt like I was throwing away my husband's life.........
Going through his computer, thousands of pictures of cars, mostly older cars, he called himself a gearhead, cars were his passion. No wonder his computer ran so slow, with all those car pictures on it. His email buddies were always sending him pictures, of their roadsters, of races they had been in, pictures of their first cars, cars shows they attended........ pictures of pictures they collected...pictures of parts of cars, why these interested him, I have no idea, I could not name half of what they were. That was just on the computer.....
Boxes we had in the closet, old car magazines. Not too many of these left, we had sold most of his extensive collection on ebay in years past. These sales had helped pay our bills. A small box of 8 x 10 black and white pictures, maybe 200 in total, but original pictures of famous race cars. I had talked David out of selling these, I knew he had this particular collection since he was 14. His best friend's father had been an illustrator for car magazines, doing "centerfolds" of famous cars of the 40's and 50's. These photos were the photos he used to draw his illustrations for magazines like Car and Driver, Rod and Custom, etc. Some of them even had the magazine name stamped on the back. They are pictures of not just the outside of the car, but also the underside, the engine, etc. Views that car nuts love, but which look pretty useless to the rest of us. Back when we were selling off other parts of his car stuff collections I had suggested he scan these photos and sell prints of them. So he could keep these originals. So...I've got that box and one of these days I will sell them. I know they are worth some money, we made a few bucks off the prints and people were always asking if they could buy our originals. So, that is a project I will set out on, I know some gearheads are going to be very happy. Maybe they will cherish these things, call them "Dave's car stuff".
Another of his passions was radio stuff. Walkie talkie, cb, ham radio, other stuff I don't know. I have things he bought and I have no idea what they are, how much they are worth, but I will sell them too. A model ship he hadn't built yet, still in the box. He was waiting to have enough money to buy a radio controlled motor for it. So, I'll be selling that. Its a model not made any more, that company only sells radio controlled car stuff now, no more boats.
Jewelry he had. Cufflinks from when he had to wear 3 piece suits to work, along with the tie tacks. Most of those had been sold in years past, but I found a box with what must have been some favorites. He had some rings, one with pot leaves on it. Looks like gold to me. Some old watches, some still run, these are the windup ones, the quartz ones probably still run too, just need batteries. Some I will sell, some I will give to my kids and the grandkids.
All the furniture is gone, the hospital bed, the hoyer lift, the hospital bedside table, the shower chair, the manual chair, the special desk with legs that were adjustable so his wheelchair could fit under. The reachers, the blood pressure cuff..all of it donated. My mom wanted me to sell this stuff, but it felt like blood money to me.
David would have wanted someone in need to get this stuff. We knew how hard it was for someone on a fixed income to come up with the co-pays for this stuff, or to have to buy it outright. There are needy people out there and I know we would have appreciated having this stuff donated to us when we struggled to find the money for things he NEEDED. Not wanted, but NEEDED. So all of that stuff I donated.
The home health nurse who came over with a big truck said her patients would be so grateful. They could not afford the co-pay of $2000 to get a $10,000 power wheelchair or have the money to shell out for a hoyer lift or a hospital bed. All stuff David had to have and we paid for out of our pockets. Maybe the guy getting the power wheelchair will call it "Dave's chair". I know he will be happy to have it, it will mean new freedom to him, a bit of independence for someone who cannot manually wheel himself around anymore, who has to be pushed everywhere. I remember when David got his first power chair, how he felt independent, how he could go to the store on his own. How he "picked up" our grand daughter from school. Things he could not do in his manual chair any more. Some other person will get that manual chair that we hung onto just in case we went somewhere that a power wheelchair could not get into, someplace not in ADA compliance. Even a manual wheelchair costs a couple of grand. The cushion on his power chair was special, made of gel so he wouldn't get pressure sores, that cushion was over $500. The home health nurse was so grateful for that, said she has a man who really needs that cushion. All of it, she thanked me and thanked me. We both cried. She tried to give me a little money but I didn't want it, I knew David was seeing all of his things going to someone in need and he was smiling, happy to help.
Today, Sunday, we are having a memorial for him at his favorite beach. This place has sidewalks going through the park, so he could get around. We will throw leis into the surf, say goodbye. My daughter asked me if I knew what I was going to say...I don't know, it will come to me. My grand daughter, U'i, informed us that she has prepared a speech. I'm sure it will be a doozie. She has been writing about her Papa for the past two weeks. Just 7, but already so eloquent, I've cried when reading everything she has written. After the memorial....what are we left with? Just memories. My heart is sad, but I'm so fortunate to have had over 12 years with this man. I miss him so much already and cannot imagine never hearing him call out...."Sweets....." again.