Anna Cardwell's widower Eldridge Toney tells PEOPLE he is not yet ready to sleep in their bedroom but has "hung up her wedding dress and I closed the door"
Toney tells PEOPLE that he recently found the emotional strength ready to put away some of wife's belongings after leaving them untouched since Cardwell’s death from stage 4 adrenal carcinoma in December.
“I haven’t been in the bedroom because everything was just how she left it,” he explains. “The last night we were in the bedroom was actually the day before she had decided to go to hospice.”
“All those feelings that are tired with that room down there, especially with all her stuff being exactly how it was when we were there...,” he continues. “And it was just hard to go down in the room, and I feel like it was like one major thing that was kind of, like, giving me anxiety about the house, but it kind of was in the same sense time.”
Toney shares that he knew “it was time” to put away some of Cardwell’s belongings, saying, “We have two closets in the bedroom and I folded all of her clothes and put it in bins and a lot of other things that were important to her. I hung up her wedding dress and I closed the door.”
“I have access to it but it’s not out anymore the way she had left it,” he notes. “So yeah, I got everything in the back closet with the door closed but I did leave out some stuff, you know, she had out that I wanted to keep out.”
He shares, “For example, one of her fans had sent her some healing crystals, and I set them up on the dresser for her and those are still on the dresser along with a photo of us.”
While Toney has begun the process of reorganizing the couple’s home, he is not yet ready to sleep in their bedroom.
“I am going to work towards it,” he says. “It’s a process but some days I’ll just go in there and lay down. I won’t go to sleep, but I just spent some time in there. I’m gonna keep spending more time in the room so that when I do make the decision to sleep in there, it won’t be so right in my face.”
Days after Cardwell’s death in December, Toney opened up to PEOPLE about how his life changed following the loss of his wife.
“It keeps hitting me again,” he said of his grief at the time. “It’s going to be a lot different.”
Toney admitted that the thought of “going back to our home with no Anna and without the girls,” had been “hard to process.” Seeing rooms left empty in the home they once shared and waking up in the morning to find Cardwell missing was “very hard.”
“It is going to be very lonely,” he added. “It’s getting harder.”
PEOPLE previously confirmed that Cardwell and Toney got married March 4 in Wilkinson County, Georgia.
The couple began dating in 2017 following Cardwell's divorce from ex-husband Michael Cardwell, with whom she welcomed daughter Kylee Madison in 2015. Cardwell was also mom to daughter Kaitlyn Elizabeth, born in 2012.
“We decided to get married after we received the stage 4 diagnosis," Toney explains to PEOPLE. "We didn't get married because she had cancer. We just sped up the process because it was always something we planned to do.”
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