His Shirt

I pull it close to my face, and my tears stream down my cheeks and onto the soft fabric. His smell is long gone.

Jennifer Estes

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Photo by the author — the last shirt he ever wore.

It has been one year and twenty-nine days since my sweet Tom died. Yesterday felt like I was transported back to a year ago; I cried all day. Tears mixed with sobs, talking to him all day, begging him to come and get me.

Please Tom, please come and get me. I want to go home.

The moments of feeling like I might be okay are getting longer and longer as time passes. Still, all it takes is one look at his shirt, one memory brought to the forefront, a song, a phrase, a commercial, it could be anything, and I am back to square one in the mourning process.

I had taken him to the hospital, and they kept him. He didn’t look good, he didn’t sound good, and the doctors were so much more pressing about his medical living will.

I came home exhausted, after months of him being so sick, months of being alone, just him, me, and our cat Luna, months of working over-time every chance I got due to all the time off requested to take him to appointments, and then years of watching him fight. It had all taken such a heavy toll on me. I was on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.

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Jennifer Estes

I am a widow, a mortician, a mom, and grandma. I write about grief, caregiving, substance use disorder, and the death care industry.