I have spoken several times of the few things Barry left in his room. Some of those things were given to his father, when he came over for the funeral, as mementos. Some things were given to his brother, and I have a few items in my Barry Box. And some things were returned to their rightful owners.

Everything else remains how Barry left it.

Shortly after Barry’s death, we needed a power board. We have several, but they were all in use. Then I saw the one in Barry’s room, not being used. I couldn’t take it. It felt wrong. We managed without it.

Some weeks later, I again needed a power board, but this time I really needed it. I went into Barry’s room and asked his permission to use it. As I left the room, I felt as if I had stolen something from my own son, even though I know in life he would have given it to me without a seconds thought.

Sometime later, Daniel needed a shirt. I told him Barry had the right type and we went into Barry’s room and looked in his wardrobe. But, like me, Daniel didn’t feel comfortable taking Barry’s clothing. Echoing my thoughts from the power board incident, Daniel said, “It belongs to Barry. I feel like it’s stealing.”

Last week, I found myself wanting a pen holder. I knew where I would find one, on Barry’s bedside table. I went and sat on his bed, beside the ashes, with the pen holder in my hand, and I stared at Barry’s photo for the longest time.

“This is theft,” I said out loud. “We can take some items to put aside and treasure, but we can’t take items to use without feeling guilty.”

I wish he had spoken to me then, reassured me, but, of course, he didn’t.

Does Barry think it’s theft? No. I know he wouldn’t think that for a minute. I know he would be happy for us to use his things. He was that type of person.

So why do I look at the Toystory container (it looks like it used to have a lid, but that has broken off) that now holds my pens, pencils and highlighters and have a hot flush rush to my face? Why do I act as if the police will be knocking on my front door at any second to charge me with theft? I’m already serving a life sentence, so I guess it doesn’t really matter, but it has left me wondering how I will handle having to pack up his room when we have to move.