As a grief counselor I would have to say that I talk with clients about this topic so often. It is so common for people to wrestle with the idea of what to do with their loved one’s possessions. Just thinking about even opening a drawer or closet and looking at a loved one’s clothing or having to sort through a stuffed animal collection or decide whether or not to keep a favorite, special piece of furniture is overwhelmingly sad. And even more difficult for some people is having to handle personal care items such as a comb or hairbrush, perfume or cologne or a toothbrush. In the midst of grief it is excruciating having to make decisions about what to keep, sell, donate or give away and this can evoke so much stress and anguish. Some people feel as if they are on a timeline either due to expectations and pressure from others or they truly have timelines that need to be met due to legal situations (handling an estate or preparing a house to sell for example). In the case of offers from family and friends to help sort or clean out a loved one’s things, I would advise that if you are really ready to do this then it may be comforting to have someone you trust help and share this experience. On the other hand, be aware of those who may try to pressure you or make you feel as if this is something that HAS to be done. You will know when the time is right….when you are able to look at your loved one’s possessions and think of a special memory or imagine their things bringing joy or purpose to someone else, that may be a sign for you that it’s time. One idea to get started is to just do a little at a time, start with a drawer or closet and gradually add to the task as time goes on. And if this takes you a few weeks, months or years, it’s okay!
If you or someone you know is struggling with this aspect of grief, I can help. Contact me at 240-298-2442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.