When to Let Go of Your Loved One’s Belongings

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What to do with your Precious Treasures?

Precious Treasures (PTs): Items left behind after a death that carry emotional connection through memories, smells, etc.

We were recently faced with the possibility of evacuation from a wildfire sweeping through an area near both our and my mom’s home. 

I suppose any time you’re facing evacuation it is “an interesting time”, however, this felt particularly interesting as my mom had just moved into her new home about a week earlier.  The move had left most of her precious treasures still in boxes and undiscovered.  We had about three minutes to grab what we needed and GO.  Suddenly, all the Precious Treasures were whittled down to a guitar, rings, three pictures, and some personal belongings. 

Although the thought of losing everything was terrifying, it wasn’t because of the PT’s.  It was more about the starting over part and less about the stuff left behind.  It was astonishing to me that minutes later while packing for my own evacuation, I was able to pair down my PT’s to about five.

I live with a closet half full of Marley’s clothes, bins in the garage, faceprints on my window, a tiny pile of clothes that were in the hamper when she died, and one hair tie with her hair wrapped in it…some might say I am clinging to what I can of Marley.  Some can’t understand not washing my front window with her sweet faceprint for nearly four years…I am starting to question my method too.  What I need of Marley is becoming more and more clear as a matter of my heart and spirit and less about her things.  Naturally, there are a few PT’s of which I will never part but when faced with a gather and run situation I was actually at peace that I had what I needed.

The next day, once we had the all-clear and things were safe and unharmed, my mom asked me to take the boxes that held my dad’s belongings and bring them to donate.  I was really impressed by her strength and although we didn’t talk about it (not much to really say) I wonder if she experienced the same sort of freedom I did the previous day…?  I took his boxes and promptly put them in my garage, because, honestly, there is no rushing through this mess of grief and more goodbyes.  It can be enough for now that I am in consideration of my methods and the time will likely reveal itself when I can let go of another piece of their life here on earth.