When my grandparents passed away in the late 80s, and my parents more than 10 years ago, I inherited a couple of pieces of furniture that belonged to my grandparents, and I brought home many of my mother’s dishes and bowls. But what happened to all the OTHER stuff? Think about it—there were financial records, clothes, appliances, linens, unnumbered nicknacks and items from decades and decades of marriage and a life well lived. I couldn’t tell you exactly where those worldly possessions are right now.
But when my son, Levi, left for Heaven over a year and a half ago, it was so very different. I couldn’t imagine not clinging to every single tangible item he had ever touched. As a matter of fact, almost all of his things are still boxed up in my bedroom, still waiting for me to filter through. I do think I had a small breakthrough last week, though. My youngest son, who is 13, asked for new jeans. My mind immediately went to that big bag, packed with Levi’s clothes. Oddly enough, he had some pants that would fit his little brother perfectly.
It was bittersweet—knowing Levi would never don those jeans again, yet what a blessing they now are to his brother, and how honored he is to be wearing them!
Do you still cling to your beloveds belongings? Do you feel like now might be the time to entertain the thought of exploring those treasures? Believe me—there is NO timetable for when or IF that is appropriate. It’s different for each of us.
Here are a few ideas of how to honor and keep the memory alive, when that time does come.
First, decide if this is going to be a solitary event. Do you need the support of others who can help keep you on track? If it takes more than one day, so be it. This is YOUR journey.
Second, have three boxes: one for “keeping,” one for “donating,” and one for things you think another loved one might appreciate.
Third, is there some way you can create a meaningful item from one or more items? For instance, a pillow or quilt can be made from clothing/blankets, or books can be used for many craft projects, like framed artwork, or even just displayed. Pictures and letters are special treasures, and should be kept with care, too. I have an old suitcase, packed with Levi’s song writing efforts, poems, and cards—a significant jewel to me.
Be gentle with yourself and your support team. This can be overwhelming, and no doubt, it will be an emotional rollercoaster. There can be just as many laughs as tears as we share memories and honor our beloved.