We always had a lot of pictures of the family scattered around the house: T and the kids on the mantle, our engagement picture in the entry, wedding pictures in the living room and our bedroom, me and B in the hall, T and me in the kitchen. I put the poster we made for T's memorial service in the bedroom, propped up on the end table next to my old side of the bed. (I sleep on T's side now.) It never bothered me to have T's image everywhere; rather, it was comforting to have tangible proof that we shared a normal, happy life together. I know that's not the case with everyone, as I think it bothered my father-in-law, for example, to be constantly reminded of T's absence through photos. But I wanted to hold T close, to hang on to the memories of him and the family we were, so I left them up.
In preparation for Guy's visit on Saturday, though, on the advice of my mother-in-law, I went around the house and put most of them away. Gone is the memorial service poster, the picture of the two of us at Big Sky in Montana, our engagement photo, our wedding invitation. I left the ones of T with the kids, so they have that tangible proof of his existence with them. But almost all of the photos of the two of us together are tucked away in a careful stack in a corner of the office, frames to be recycled and pictures to be stored in memory boxes for posterity. And it occurred to me as I was doing it that it was a symbolic act, too. Sometimes you have to clear away the old to make room for the new.