As one of my goals for the New Year, I plan to deep clean my entire house. Sounds fun, right? On my goal poster, I have listed each room and closet so I can check it off as the detailed cleaning is completed so I can feel a sense of accomplishment. We have lived in this house for 6 ½ years, since July 2010, the longest we have ever lived in one place. We used to move every three or four years. An impending move would prompt us to go through most of our belongings and question whether or not they were worth packing and transporting to the new place. Since we have been here so long, it is time for a purge.
Today I began tackling the master closet. Of course, I started with Akhil’s side of the closet thinking it would be easier and faster to go through his things than my own. I tend to hold on to clothes just hoping they will come back in style. My daughters recently convinced me to part with some of my 80’s wardrobe insisting that the shoulder pads will not be coming back in style any time soon. I reluctantly conceded although I swear this past fall Macy’s had an embellished jacket that resembled the one Michael Jackson wore in his “Bad” days. I just know I should have waited a little longer and my shoulder pads and baggy pants would be back in style…
Akhil has had ALS for 5 ½ years, and has needed assistance dressing for four of those years. He used to enjoy wearing suits and ties but, these days, he doesn’t even wears pants - we simply cover his lower body with a sheet since he spends his days seated and immobile in his wheelchair. He prefers a simple polo on top because it is easy for me to get it on and off without contorting him too much. Akhil’s clothing needs are pretty simple; a few t-shirts, pull-over sweaters, a sheet and socks.
I kept a couple of the other fashionable ties because you never know when a man crippled by ALS may need to dress up.
It occurred to me that I am probably more attached to these articles of clothing than Akhil is. I look at giving his clothes away as a concession to the disease, an acknowledgement that Akhil won’t ever need those things again. Perhaps since Akhil is struggling to get through each day, he has already conceded that his wardrobe is the least of his concerns. For me, it is just one more way that I wish life could be “normal” again. I long for a day when Akhil walks into the closet, gets himself dressed and comes out strutting like a peacock only to hear one of the girls ask, “Is that what you are wearing?” That thought brings a smile to my face and gives me the strength to pack up the last box. After all, if that day comes, Akhil will need new clothes!