- By Helen
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Having moved into a new apartment in the past couple of months, as well as assisting a brother to move a month ago, the lugging of heavy boxes, plastic bags and load after load of stuff made me want to throw most of it out. It wasn’t because I hated moving so much (but I’ve yet to meet someone who loves it) it was because most of the stuff that was ferried from home to vehicle to home were things that we hardly used but were buried somewhere at the back of a cupboard and ended up in the packing box.
So what happens when we have been given the role to pack up the home of a deceased relative or friend. I know when my siblings and I had to do this for my mother, with only half a day to do so, we had to treat most of her belongings in a practical way. Anyone who wanted to take something could but the reminder of her belongings were going to the Op Shop.
Mixed feelings arose about disposing of our mother’s belongings. Hanging onto a piece of her through the comfort of a jumper, a nightgown and semi precious items such as a Russian icon of Madonna and Child or a family crucifix, I felt that I should hang onto more out of respect to her and her things even though I didn’t need them at a physical level but at the time, I needed them at an emotional level. There can also be problems taking items back with you on a flight or drive home.
I told myself when it came to more general replaceable items that whilst they held our mother’s energy, it wouldn’t last long. The items she had such as jewellery and teacups with cake plates connected us to her and childhood memories that will always remind us of her and an era nearly gone.
Yet I know if I died tomorrow it wouldn’t matter if my belongings weren’t kept for they don’t represent me. I would hope that my actions and words would be remembered by family and friends with perhaps a token or two kept as a memento.
What experience have you had in organising the belongings of a loved one or what would you want done with your belongings?