I’m going to be careful, I promise.
You didn’t think I was going to talk about such delicate topics. Did you? Well, grief forces a lot of decisions, topics, and contemplations. Some topics you probably would tell me you’ll never have to think about. I’m telling you that you—or your spouse—will have to think about these tender topics one day.
I’ve broached a lot of topics that I never thought I’d face. I’ll never forget the day my oldest son, Paul, talked to be about pornography. My son talking to me? It was a mere ten days after Kim’s death, and he wanted to make sure I had safeguards in place. Nine weeks after Kim’s death, I had to read an autopsy. To understand the report, I had numerous conversations with various doctors. Later, I had to go through all of Kim’s belongings. A year after her death, my kids and their spouses returned to mark the one-year anniversary with me. We went through all her clothing. The length you are forced to go is surprising. Most likely, you’ve never thought of these topics in the way I have unless you’ve lost someone very special.
I’ll try to be careful.
A week or so before my children came to go through Kim’s clothing, I realized there was something much too personal and intimate not to consider ahead of time. And I needed to figure it out alone. I may be judged for even writing about it. But go back to my introduction, Welcome to My Intense Schoolhouse: An Introduction, and you’ll read that I found there are a lot of aspects to grief that we don’t talk about. And we should. We should face loss. We have the gospel. We have the answer to brokenness. We should be able to talk about difficult subjects in gospel hope.
Even lingerie. Private. Intimate.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled…” Hebrews 13:4
Over coffee one day, a fellow grief journeyer heard me share about this painful contemplation I had to face. He encouraged me to include this experience in my writings.
I resisted the idea.
However, God invented intimacy, so I need to be able to talk about it.
But again, I’ll be careful.
So, what was the question before me? What do I do about her lingerie? Again, some things you never think about until you are forced to think about them. Grief does that to you a lot. And you’d better give grace and not judge me until you’re walking in those same shoes. Believe me, grief forces you to contemplate choices you never would dream of having to consider.
I mean, think about the options with me. Go through it with my kids? Nope. Give the lingerie to Goodwill? No way! Throw it away? I’m not going to dispose of it as if it were garbage. Not going to do it. Take it somewhere and dispose of it in some other manner? It’s just not practical. It was a dilemma. A painful contemplation. I wrestled with this predicament. I thought about it and processed the options. And one day I knew what I had to do. I decided there were no other viable alternatives to consider.
I burned the lingerie.
Almost ceremoniously. Not like burning an idol, I promise you. It was an act of respect. Acknowledging we were in a covenant only ended by death, as in our marriage vows.
So, I built a fire in my back yard and spent some time alone burning everything of Kim’s that could be considered intimate apparel. It was a time to honor the beauty of marriage and oneness. It was a time to take an important step. It was a time to address a difficult decision with grace and hope. It was a special time. It was a difficult time. It was a healthy, Kim-honoring, God-honoring, and healing step. Another of the many dimensions to loss that need to be processed. Yes, on a journey when you’re facing loss, you have to consider some difficult, painful, and tender contemplations. Even lingerie.
There. I did it. And I did it carefully.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24