Over the last couple of weeks I’ve started going through Mari’s stuff. I still remember the day we went into the house we’d been renting and sat there packing up every single item that either was Mari’s or we needed for her. Nothing got thrown away. Even her juice cups and light switch covers all got saved. At that point, Mari may have been gone about two to two-and-a-half months. I felt like if I threw something away belonging to her, somehow it’s like I was throwing her away. My grief wouldn’t let me see past how much I missed her.
Then Keith received orders to go to Fort Knox, Kentucky. His mom and I went through every single box holding Mari’s stuff and we packed it all into those plastic bins you can buy in the stores for around $7 to $8. I wanted to preserve her stuff the best I could. Every bin holding her stuff got a number with the letter ‘m’ in front of it signifying Mari. We were able to let the movers know to be extra careful with her stuff as it was easy to point out.
Once we settled into the townhome on post, her stuff still sat there. Then Athena and Trevin came to live with us. I decided to go through some of the bins and gave a few of Mari’s clothes to Athena and pulled out some of her toys and stuffed animals. However, the rest of it still sat in bins.
Then Keith received orders for Alaska. This is the first time we actually got rid of some things like her sandbox and her highchair that wasn’t really fit for anyone anymore it was so old. But still, most of her stuff came with us to Alaska.
We’ve been her just over a year. When I came back from the ACFW conference at the beginning of October, I’d called about five different places before I finally found the one that could help me find homes for Mari’s stuff. I wanted it all to go to families that have children with autism in memory of Mari. It’s amazing how much stuff she had as a little girl.
So, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been sorting her things and slowly bagging it all away so I can call the lady I talked with and have them come pick it up. While I’m sad, I feel good about this knowing it will go to good homes.
However, what saddens me the most is that some of her things weren’t salvageable. Like one of the bins, when we opened it and took out this tent like thing that Mari loved. It had Dora on it. We think it had some of her diarrhea from when she got sick. We threw the whole bin away and immediately washed our hands with antibacterial soap for a good few minutes. We figure that it’s probably all dead but there’s no way we will take any chances.
Then there are a couple of the toys that had been some of Mari’s favorites. One was an Elmo doll that did the hokey pokey. The other is a snowglobe. When you pushed the button, the snow flew through the air. I opened the battery compartment on the Elmo and saw how the previous batteries corroded the inside. I had to throw him away. I was sad but it was pretty bad on the inside.
With the snowglobe, there were two major parts on the globe dented in. So I took this pointy thing and tried to get them out the best that I could. While it’s not perfect, I was okay with the result. I went to go put batteries in and I found more corrosion from previous batteries. My heart sank. I’m torn. I don’t want to throw it away, but it’s a lot of work to clean it up. Not as bad as Elmo’s but it still bad. I’m not sure what to do. What do you think? Should I clean it up and save it or should I just throw it away?