Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mr. Z's ties..... who would have thought..?

I can't give up Mr. Z's clothing yet. It's hard enough trying to go through his desk and files and computer equipment and books and 10 inches of every business card he ever took (AND a very thick binder of all those business cards... Xeroxed!!?)..., etc. etc.
Clothing is something altogether different. And worse, more emotional. Those of you who've had the privilege of having the kind of marriage we had and the unbelievable heartache of losing that marriage can attest to what I'm saying about clothes. Some spouses tell me it was a few months before they could get rid of their spouse's clothing, some tell me it was about three years. Being a woman, you can well imagine how much I'd love to have his closet and drawer space. So, every few weeks, I think "This is the day..." and I open up his closet with a flourish and look at the suits and shirts and close the door. No, not today.
I tell you all of this because I just gave 22 ties to a friend who's going to UGANDA and it was a little tough. My friend's doing a missionary trip to Uganda for two weeks and had told me months ago that "they love ties there." I thought of the ties I have here and that maybe giving some to her would be a good thing to do. Mr. Z loved ties and had a lot of really nice ones. I gave some away this last Christmas to my brothers-in-law and nephews and was stunned and so touched by their delight in receiving them. I'll give them more this year, I think. BUT, I had 22 which were too thin or made of a fabric that's out of style, and some that he just didn't wear much and many which were, frankly, 'just okay'. I loaded them into a bag and called my friend who leaves this Friday on her trip to tell her I had the ties ready. I think.

When my friend called me back Sunday afternoon, she said she'd wondered if I'd decided it was too difficult to part with them yet and that she'd understood but was delighted to hear my message telling me I had them all ready for her. I got a twinge of panic
"UHOH, maybe I'm NOT ready!" Let me backtrack here with something that's going to sound like yet another non sequitur but it isn't, you'll see:

Mr. Z was quite old-time German in his views about church; he would never go to a church with a Pastor in an Izod shirt, for instance. No Jimmy Buffet Hawaiian shirts could be on the pulpit and keep my man in the pew. He always wore a tie to church. I'm sure most of you disagree, that's JUST FINE (and YES, clothes don't make the message, and he knew that, but this was his how he felt...) But, I digress:

While on the phone with my friend, as she thanked me for the ties, I got that twinge of
"Do I REALLY want to not have these ties here anymore?? REALLY? Can I really part with some of his things yet?"...and then she said "....it's funny that ties are so revered in Uganda, isn't it?..." I said "Yes, I find it kind of surprising, frankly!" And she said "....Z, it's the PASTORS who like the ties, they adore them; they won't preach without a suit and tie on."

I knew then, without a doubt, that it was the right thing for me to give up those ties, that Mr. Z was sending those ties. The comfort I have over this is amazing...I hope you find this a good story, too. It's nine months ago that I lost my husband and, I'll tell you, it doesn't get easier, it's impossible. Yet, you do it. Situations like this tie thing help.



Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Trust me, Z, trust me; I know precisely what you're feeling and thinking. My father -- my father, for gosh sakes, not even my wife -- passed away on February 11th of 2009 and, still, I can't help but have my bad days.

Just Sunday I was driving down Howe Avenue with my wife and she was talking to me and I kept thinking: Dad and I used to go here, he liked eating at the Denny's there, his friend George lives here --

And still, a full year-and-a-half after his passing, I have boxes and boxes of his things that I just can't motivate myself to separate and perhaps even remove. I still can't think of dumping things that belonged to my Dad.

The hurt is still here. I don't talk about it or write about it because everyone just assumes I'm "over it."

I am by no means "over it."


Ducky's here said...

So the ties have a useful life and a little bit of Mr. Z continues.

Circles within circles.

Linda said...

I haven't lost a spouse, but both my parents and step-mom are gone. It has gotten easier over the years, but sometimes I just get an over-whelming sense of needing them. My step-dad is hanging on, but it won't be long for him either.

I can't imagine life without my hubby.

Our pastor wears a tie most Sundays too. None of the men do anymore.

That was nice, Ducky!

Z said...

BZ, people assume I am 'over it', too, I think. There are good days (tho none is great again yet) and I can write here and comment enthusiastically, etc...and one would think "Z's over it"...but, of course....that's impossible.
I won't go into it much here, but trust me, it's impossible.
I love how much you loved your dad. He must have been QUITE a guy. Mr Z was, too. So was MY dad.

Ducky, thanks...I like to think of many Ugandan pastors preaching in Mr. Z's ties and how that would have pleased my husband...yes, circles within circles. Thanks.

Linda. It's far worse than you think. But, you put one step in front of the other..

I.H.S. said...

Z, I only know what you are saying from watching a friend go...going through the same, and just as I pray for their strength daily; I pray for yours as well my friend.


Z said...

Thank you, IHS...And I'm sorry about your friend.
I'm just so pleased about where these ties are going and how happy he'd have been about this.

I.H.S. said...

Yes, I believe Mr. Z would be very pleased to say the least.


JINGOIST said...
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JINGOIST said...

My heart goes out to you Z. I'll bet he also understood how lucky he was to have found you. When things work out well, we find our beschert. You and W were blessed.
G-d bless and keep you as he now keeps your wonderful husband.

Elmers Brother said...

I'm glad you wrote about this Z. I really like you.

JINGOIST said...

I second what Ebro said. You are one of a kind Z. :-)

Please say a prayer for my wife Nanette. Her mom's on her death bed and we're going right now to the hospice. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I hope this does't come out wrong, but this reminds me of the conversations you and Ducky had about films where nothing happened and everything happened. You described what sounds like a small task, but explained how it was anything but small. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for posting


Leslie said...

Z, I think it is a beautiful story and an honorable gift you are giving.

And though it doesn't get easier, you show your strength every day here.

Most sincere blessings.

Beth said...

This is great, and I think often about how you are dealing with your loss still, and I think talking about it helps. Bless you!

Karen Howes said...

I can only imagine how difficult that must have been. And truly, you were blessed to have such a wonderful marriage and the time you had together.

But good for you for having the courage and good heart to do that. Mr. Z is proud of you, I'm sure he is!

Beverly said...

I smile as I read this post, having experienced the same feelings.

When I lived in Haiti, the missionary kids would compliment each other on their "new" clothes, which often came from "missionary barrels," clothes that had been donated.

Once our field director half jokingly said that nobody ever died his size. He didn't seem to profit from the hand-me-downs that came our way.

When Don and I married, one of the first things I got him was a pair of cowboy boots. His mother would not allow them in her house. He wore and wore them. And then I bought him a couple of suits. He wore them a good bit, but because we were both in choir, he didn't wear a jacket any more, but always a shirt and tie.

I know I held onto clothes for a long time. I emptied the sock and underwear drawer first. The last thing to go was his suits. I gave them to a missionary home over in St. Petersburg, and I hope someone who wore a 44 Long was able to use them.

I still have the boots.

Z said...

You're all bringing tears to my eyes.
I have to say I think our corner of the blogosphere is exceptional. I'm blessed to know you all.

tio, I get it. Thanks.

Jingo, I'll be praying for Nanette's mother...I'm SO sorry. I didn't know she's been so ill. God bless her and your wonderful family especially during SUCH a difficult time. My gosh.

Beverly...I love it when you talk about your Don..his death was SO sudden I don't know how you made it through..but I know we do and you were a great example to me :-)

Thanks, Karen, Beth, Leslie...you're VERY kind.

Elbro...thanks. Me, too. xxx

Anonymous said...

Z, I can't think of anywhere better to send those ties. They're going to people who will appreciate them. There, they will not be "just" ties.

I think Mr. Z's standards for proper dress will be adhered to, and will represent a certain respect for where they're worn.

I can only imagine how painful this is, and no one can really know unless he/she has walked in your shoes.

Love to you Z, and God bless you. You're doing the right thing, which for you, is not a rare thing at all.


David Wyatt said...

Oh my, Z! I already appreciated Mr. Z from what you've said about him, but, now I know I would have loved to not only have met him, but spent a lot of time with him! I agree with him totally about church! I know that clothes don't make the man or the message, but there seems to be such a trend or fad (I despise both) toward trying to NOT look like a preacher, the outward does make a statement, if we let it reflect what's on the inside. To me, & this is just me, it says I want to look my best for the One who has given all for me. I certainly don't intend to make a rule for anyone else! I honestly do not mean to offend, & I agree with you, if someone disagrees, that is fine. Either extreme would be wrong. But I digress!
I do definitely know how you feel, Z. I can only imagine how you feel, your dear husband, literally your other half being taken, that hurts. I try to think if I lost my wife, I'd be lost for quite awhile I know. I think you have done exceptionally well. Who is to say what is your timetable for healing, for moving on? You & God, that's who. You both are doing a bang-up job of it! You're a blessing to me, Z!

David Wyatt said...

That was kind of a mixed up mess, Z! I should have proofread it before I sent it! I hope you can make heads or tails of it!

Anonymous said...

Jingo, my prayers to your Nanette, and your family at this most difficult time.


FrogBurger said...

I am sending you a big hug, Z. I understand how you feel. But like Ducky said, Mr. Z's spirit will be traveling now. And maybe he'll bring good things to people who will wear those ties. Without Mr. Z, I wouldn't have met you because I'm not sure you'd have driven :) So Mr. Z always brings something good to the life of others.

sue said...

Z - It is very generous of you to give Mr. Z's ties to your friend to take to Uganda - knowing how you feel about them.

When my father-in-law died, I was amazed that my mother-in-law had her sons clear out his clothes the day after the funeral. She must have thought that doing it right away would save her grief later.

But they were much older than you and Mr. Z, and she had a lot of time to make that decision.

I can't believe that it has been nine months since I was shocked by reading about Mr. Z's death. I believe you when you say it doesn't get any easier - but you have no other choice than to go on.

Elmers Brother said...

Jingo...prayers going up for you.

JINGOIST said...

Thanks everyone for your prayers. My wife needs them for comfort, and her mom will need them when she meets our Maker. uugghh/

I think I need a HUGE bourbon and water.

Z said...

Jingo, I hope you have one :-) God bless.

David, your comment was amazing...no editing necessary! THANK you for your kind words.

Sue..yes, imagine...9 months already. Everybody deals with these things differently, don't they.. A very dear German friend's wife committed suicide in December and he told me he tried to pack some of her lovelier things for her sister and his blood pressure went so high he had to call the doctor...Clothing says much more than we think, or so it seems. He just hadn't thought this could be so painful, to give clothes away. He simply wasn't ready.

FrogBurger,I LOVe to drive (I just HATE RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC!!) I'm sure glad you knew Mr. Z. I'm glad Elbro and Pris did, too. And that he'd known and liked all of you so much.

Pris, you're very kind xxx

Deborah on the Bayside said...

It's just one of those God things. Little blessings along the way until you stand once more with Mr. Z. I like to think of those pastors preaching in his ties. I'm glad it turned out that way, and I'm glad you could share with us.

Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
namaste said...

a sweet tribute about your love and letting go of his things. i can only imagine how painful it is letting go of mr. z's belongings. thanks for letting us share in your beautiful reflections.


Z said...

Deborah, it's Jackie going to Uganda, isn't that great? She was in the Congo last year. Amazing woman.
Thanks for your words; yes, just the thought of those Pastors in Mr. Z's ties makes me SO HAPPY.
I love it! xxx

Cigarette Sally said...

Wow- That must have been a very hard thing for you to do. I am sure your husband is looking down from heaven and smiling at you for doing that good deed :-)

Lana said...

My husband passed away almost 20 years ago. He was an Elk and loved the organization. It took almost 2 years to finally give his clothing to an Elks sponsored charity. They were so grateful for the suits, ties and just every day clothing. I still have a few jewelry pieces, but was finally able to dispose of all his other stuff. It is difficult and no matter what you do, it will be difficult,

My thoughts are with you.

Craig and Heather said...

I am so sorry for your pain, Z.

It is beautiful to hear of some of the"little" ways the Lord works to bring about a measure of healing.

As a father pities his children, Jehovah pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our form; He remembers that we are dust.

Always On Watch said...

It is indeed difficult to part with a loved one's belongings. I went through this when my cousin, my mother, and my father passed away -- the three people in my family to whom I was closest. These three beloveds passed away in 1992, 1987, and 1998, respectively. And, yes, I still have a few of their belongings.

However, after all these years, I'm starting to be able to toss out or to give away many of the items. Keeping the items will not bring back my beloveds.

And, of course, right now I'm faced with having to part with many of Mr. AOW's things, particularly mechanic's tools that he'll never use again. So far, I haven't parted with much of the "stuff," but I did have to sell his car as the county would have been all over me for keeping an untagged vehicle on the property longer than the amount of time I managed to bargain for with the county (9 months, well beyond the one-month deadline).

Now, as for your situation, it is too soon to self-criticize with regard to hanging onto Mr. Z's belongings. You'll know when you're ready to let go. Remember, you don't have to let go of everything!

Always On Watch said...

Something both of my parents emphasized to me while they were still living and when I was so hesitant to sort out my beloved grandmother's personal belongings:

"Remember that these belongings were for use only in this life."

I've kept that advice in my heart and have found it useful. I try to pass on to someone else the belongings those living people will find useful. But it is so very hard to let go.

Z said...

Namaste, it feels good to have you here again...thanks for that comment, I really appreciate it.

Cigarette Sally, welcome!I like to think so.

Lana, i'm so sorry for your loss and appreciate your comments. I'm thinking somebody will need Mr. Z's clothing and it will be easier to honor him and that person in that way, as Always On Watch suggests.

Heather, that's what I thought; The Lord made that easier; it really touched me. Especially because it honors Mr. Z so much. Imagine African Pastors preaching with my husband's ties on, from America, once owned by a German!! I LOVE that stuff!

Anonymous said...

Z, thank you for writing about this. I love it when we have peace and clarity like this...it helps to have a purpose in your pain.

Tony C said...

Z...you can feel the love you have for Mr. Z in every word you write about him.

I look very forward to meeting him when I'm called Home. I'm sure he has some great stories to share.

God bless you my friend.

Faith said...

Wonderful story, thanks. One of those "things that work together for good to those who love God ..."

Anonymous said...

Dear Z, precisely today I was thinking of Mr Z and how much he would have enjoyed helping me with one of our projects. We miss him very much and remember him all the time.
I am sure Mr Z would be happy that his ties are on the way to helping spread God's word to others!!
Lots of love and hugs,

ExPreacherMan said...


Great story -- as a former Pastor, I never preached without a suit and tie.. Just old fashioned respect for my Savior and the same standards exhibited by Mr. Z.

As you may remember, my dear Fern was taken home suddenly (Aortic Rupture). For about a month later I was still occasionally turning down the covers on her side of the bed. I was devastated even though I knew she was so much better off in Heaven.

My daughter came to stay with me for about three weeks after -- and she immediately bundled up Fern's clothes, gave some away and took most herself. What a relief knowing they would be used and I would not have to deal with that. It was a difficult time -- even though I had been told it takes nine months to "get over her." I have never "gotten over her" -- difficult thing to do after our 49 years of wonderful marriage.

At this point you may rightfully say "Never" to the following paragraph, but:
A year after Fern's homegoing, I met a sweet widow of a Bible preacher. After a while we knew the Lord had put us together. But I had some doubts about my feelings. Then a dear friend said to me, "There is nothing wrong with loving two people, the one in Heaven and the one on earth." That is a true statement.. and Shirley and I have now had over seven years of wonderful, strong, spiritual married life. I could not get along without her. The Lord knew that.

Still praying for you Z... thanks for your wonderful "Tie Story." If I were I still a Pastor, I would consider it an honor to preach "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" in one of Mr. Z's ties. God bless you !!!

Please forgive to many words.

In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

Z said...

Jack, you couldn't DO 'too many words' at geeeZ,I love having you here. I'm SO glad you read my article. Isn't it a great thought that many Ugandan pastor's will have my husband's tie on while they preach? I'm hearing they're on fire there and are very true to Scripture..truer than most liberal churches here, that's for sure!

Who ever thought anybody'd 'get over' losing a loving spouse after NINE MONTHS!? I just passed that mark and it's none the easier, as you know.

I'm cheered by your story of your having fallen in love with your dear Shirley after losing such a great wife as Fern and am so touched your sharing it with me. It's a tough thought, moving on with a man after having had such a great husband. But, your words leave that door open and do make sense. Still........not yet. No, not even close!

ExPreacherMan said...


I was convinced, as, are you about Mr. Z, that no one could take Fern's place... and no one has..

But the Lord picked out the right lady for me at the right time for the second part of my life serving the Lord.

My thought to you is not a prescription but simply a thought.

Yes, the idea of African preachers sharing Jesus Christ.. and wearing your gift ties.. is an amazing thought. Praying for them and their clarity.

In Jesus eternally, Jack

Z said...

Jack, I only took it as a thought..thanks so much. It's a comforting thought, in a way.

And yes, I can't WAIT for those Ugandan pastors to be wearing my German's ties from America :-)