My bathroom, which used to be our bathroom, has two sinks. One is "mine." The other is "Steve's."
In life without Steve, I have taken over both sinks. My sink is the hair and makeup sink. Steve's sink is the dental care and hand-washing sink. Some jewelry has migrated over there.
For four and a half years, I've kept Steve's final toothbrush in the toothbrush holder at his sink. I've kept the toothbrush I last used while he was alive. Plus I've rotated in many, many new-then-old toothbrushes for me.
I didn't keep the vintage 2009 toothbrushes for any specific reason. I wasn't trying to trick myself into believing in a way of life long gone. I simply found comfort in an everyday Steve object.
Tuesday night, as I was cleaning Steve's sink, I paused and looked at the assemblage of toothbrushes. I took a mental picture. Then I plucked up the old brushes and placed them gingerly in the trash can.
Now it's just new brushes -- one for my adult teeth and one for the three miniature baby teeth that refuse to budge from my middle-age mouth.
I'm not going to lie. Those two empty spaces are difficult. I briefly considered rummaging through the trash Wednesday morning to retrieve the old brushes.
Steve, of course, can't be found in an old toothbrush or an old sweater (though I still have plenty of those). Yet I catch glimpses of him all over. When Katie leaps out of her chair in the middle of a dignified tea party to lip-sync songs from Frozen. When Cooper runs with impossibly long legs. When we hear Aaron Copland or ZZ Top.
We've got so much more of life to experience, despite the holes. So we keep on going.