I thought by now I might move on from writing about my husband, Mike’s, passing last December. I realize now it isn’t so easy to muffle the journey.

Even though we knew Mike’s time was limited, there were some things neither of us were able to face that would make it easier for me after he was gone. One of those things was emptying our too-large storage unit that mostly housed Mike’s collections: wine, CDs and books.

I asked around to inquire whether a few people knew of anyone who might want to make money helping me move the items to our condo, and to my surprise, two friends who are also brothers volunteered their time and their pickup trucks to help me move, free of charge. My heart felt full at the kind gesture, one of so many received since Mike’s passing that I am learning to accept.

On moving day we took straight to the task of moving the items to the condo. After our first trip it was suggested I leave my SUV at home and ride in the pickup with Nick. When I opened the door to get in, out wafted a familiar scent of white peppermint Life Savers candies.

I saw the individually wrapped pieces in a gallon-size Ziploc bag in the middle console. Nick immediately opened the bag and offered me a piece, explaining to me that he’d accidentally ordered quite a large bag of candy instead of gum from Amazon. Of course I took it; it was one of my favorite flavors from childhood, and I told him this.

We spoke of how things are going with me, of how it feels taking two steps forward and one step back through this journey to rediscover life without Mike. We talked over several more pieces of candy each time we were back in Nick’s truck.

Nick and Matt kindly said they would take the items I wish to donate and to recycle away for me. My heart felt full again. It’s been a lot to try to do things on my own. I’d fully intended to go alone to various places to discard these last items. My eyes welled up with tears several times that day.

Before we exited his truck for the last time, Nick very sweetly offered me the bag of candy. I took a handful and put them in my purse. I took a second handful. With more coaxing I eventually took the entire bag, chuckling and trusting he really did have plenty more.

Alone at home, I became distracted moving things around. A few hours later I opened my purse. The strong smell of peppermint came rushing at me and my first thought was, how was I going to get that smell out of my purse! I first smiled and then I laughed.

I’ve laughed more since the moment I realized I will one day truly feel full belly-laughter again.

J. Lauren Sangster of Portland writes about her life since the illness and death of her husband, Mike. 

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