Nov 23, 2020
I vowed to never miss writing a new blog post each Sunday. And then last Sunday, my beautiful Mom passed away. Writing those words and reading back over them feels like I’m writing about someone else.
But I’m not.
Someday I’ll write more about the events of that Sunday. But not yet.
What started 2.5 years ago, has come to an end. But all the memories and lessons learned will stay with me, tucked deeply in my heart. And I’ll put them to use as I continue to Coach others through their Caregiving journeys and the heartache of Loss.
Several years ago when my parents were organizing their estate planning, I was designated to be in charge of taking inventory of their items, collecting lists of who-wanted-what, and distributing the items.
A few years ago I began that process. I took inventory of the more valuable items, took a few photos and a few notes. My Mom actually collected the “wish list” items and I double checked them for duplicates. The best way I can describe my efforts is “half-assed.” Pardon my French.
Now my role of “Distributor of 57 years of stuff” has been activated. We are no longer in dress rehearsal mode. This is the real deal. One of my brothers has purchased our parents house. He and his wife have been living upstairs for the last year and a half helping with the care of our parents, and they just purchased the home 2 months ago. Most of their belongings are still in boxes in the basement. They would like to officially move in, and I’d like to help that happen in a relatively short amount of time.
So, the day after Mom passed I began cleaning out closets, cupboards and drawers. I asked each of Mom’s 13 granddaughters to come look through her clothes, shoes and jewelry so that they could pick out something to remember her by.
My brother’s each have different items they focus on. For one it’s artwork, for another it’s family heirlooms. The other brothers prefer nostalgic items from their growing up years. Today we went to church and I noticed one of my nieces was wearing Mom’s shoes, another her pearl necklace. My sister-in-law had donned her earrings and I was wearing one of her skirts.
It has brought me so much joy to see what each person chooses. And I think Mom would be tickled to see us all enjoying her things. Faces light up when they find something meaningful, stories are shared, and Grandma is remembered. I’m so happy I accepted this assignment.
I do not decide who deserves what, I just keep track of who wants what and take note of special requests. There are some items that are wanted by more than one person. For those, we will hold a drawing. Each sibling has a different color post-it note. Items are marked with their color. The drawing will be held by folding up the post-it note in fourths and drawing one out of a hat. There may be disappointment if an item is lost in the drawing, but we’ve gone through tougher things than this. We will not allow objects to come between us. Even these treasured pieces of nostalgia are not more important to us than each other.
The day after Thanksgiving, we will gather to finalize who gets what and begin taking the memories into our individual homes, to make them a part of our legacies.
And to be reminded of Mom and Dad.
P.S. There is no “right” time to begin letting go of our Loved One’s belongings. It felt right to me to begin immediately. Mom and I had actually spent many of my visits cleaning out areas of her house. Do what feels right to you using whatever method makes sense. If you are struggling to let go, and it’s interrupting your ability to move forward, let’s talk. I offer a free Discovery Call in order for you to learn how I can help you. Schedule your call here: https://meredithgcoaching.as.me/