My husband T was not a conspicuous consumer. While we did both have well-paying jobs in the Silicon Valley, neither of us were big shoppers. He drove a practical, inexpensive car, he wasn't into video games, DVDs or electronics, and he wore khakis and polo shirts exclusively. I once bought him a beautiful cashmere sport jacket that never even left the closet. (I took it back to Nordstrom after he died, five years after I bought it, and they accepted it as a return. I heart Nordstrom.)
But T was a wine collector. And wow, you can sink a lot of money into wine if you even halfway try. We have a very large wine refrigerator in the garage, and off-site storage for many more cases as well. Some of the wine he bought is quite expensive, and none of it will last forever. Whatever am I going to do with somewhere around 500 bottles?
Last weekend I spent time at the off-site wine locker, sorting cases, handling bottles T was the last one to touch, deciphering his almost illegible handwriting, and communing with his spirit (pun intended). I was able to bring home many cases and move the rest into a much smaller locker, saving me a tidy sum in storage fees. My in-laws helped me load 19 cases into the refrigerator in the garage. I thought of T with every bottle I handled, every label I read, every winery visit I recalled. Oh, I have some wonderful memories of tasting trips we took to Napa and Sonoma. I was pleased to realize that the recollections brought smiles more than tears -- another sign of having moved forward with my grieving.
So what will I do with all these cases? I will continue to give wine to my in-laws, as they appreciate it as much as T and I did. I will continue to donate wine to fund-raising auctions for causes I support. I'll sell what I can via consignment. I'll drink a little, though not nearly at the pace that T and I were on while he was here to help with the mood and the consumption. And I'll toast to his memory with every glass.