My dad died back in 2002 (holycrapIcan'tbeliveit'sbeenalmosttenyears), but even then, he had lived in the nursing home for ten years before he died. Sorting through his stuff was difficult, but not in a home-based way. Our loss was palpable and awful, and when the Salvation Army guy asked me if I wanted a receipt I sorrowfully said "Sure, if you want to put a price on my father's life, go right ahead." (I'm their favorite donor, I bet). But it wasn't entirely unexpected, and we had grieved parts of him since the stroke in 1986.
So I was taken aback when, in cleaning out the last nooks and crannies of Mom's kitchen, I found Dad's keys. I mean, I wasn't surprised they were there. It was the kind of thing we'd set aside after the stroke, in case we needed them again. Nearly 26 years later, here they are: keys to buildings that have long since been torn down, to PO boxes we no longer rent, to paddlocks misplaced or cut off years ago.
I miss him so.