Tim was a bookseller and a collector, and when he died the house was full of books, magazines, motor racing programmes, Airfix kits and model cars. I cleared the house and sold the magazines, cars and Airfix kits, but I was left with the books. These are things that were particularly special to him, collected over a lifetime and loved, and each has a memory associated with it that I don't have access to. Where he bought the book. The things he read from it. The people he showed it to. He always said he wanted them to be my income if anything happened, and now the time is right for me to sell his books.
I'm listing the books on eBay, and it's hard. I'm getting flashbacks. Good ones, but still unsettling. Getting a book collection in from another dealer and opening the boxes as if it was Christmas. Wandering round car boot sales. Going to Le Mans and stocking up from the racecourse shop. Hearing his stories as we walked around the paddocks at Goodwood revival. It's good that they are going to people who love them, but it's a bittersweet process.
I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Though we'd known each other since our early 20s, we'd been married less than ten years.