I remember learning that my grandfather took all of my grandmother’s things and gave them to the Good Will. I remember being so upset that all of her things were gone. A few years later my other grandmother past away. All of her things that had not been distributed to her children, such as jewelry, sat for over ten years before my sister and I sorted some of the things that remained. My very good friend lost her husband a couple of years ago, and she found herself “stuck” when just trying to sort through his books.
I’ve learned a few things from online loss groups. First of all, there are different kinds of loss that can get someone stuck. Divorce, the loss of a career, a drastic move or a major change in your life. All of these life-changing events can leave you stuck emotionally with your stuff or your loved one’s stuff, or stuff from memories of the years gone by.
What I have found, is there is no right way to deal with STUFF. Some people cannot look at it ever again, like my grandfather. The memories of each item are just too painful. Some people would like to sort through it and give away what they don’t really need, but they want to give it to someone that really needs it or someone they feel good about giving it to. Others want to keep everything just as it was left, as a way to remember the person or the time of their life before the change or loss. Then there are people that want to repurpose or make memorable items from their loved one’s stuff.
None of these solutions are wrong, and I have learned it is a very personal choice, a choice that if you have to give your opinion, you should tread very lightly when giving it. Such as, “I took many of my daughter’s favorite shirts and made a quilt, if you are interested in the website, let me know.” I found by reading the different posts, I was somewhat of a blend of all these types of people. I wanted somethings of my daughters to keep, some things like size 8.5 shoes, when no one wears 8.5 shoes now, to go to someone that could really use them, and some things repurposed into meaningful items for my family.
I recently found myself, “Stuck like Chuck.” I looked up the origin of that, by the way, and nobody knows where it came from, possibly a Chuck Norris reference. I realized over the last 14 months I have been unable to sort through much of anything without spending hours lost in time. A pair of socks, a book written in forth grade, pictures of four years ago when life was easier. Not to mention the Dang Facebook memories! I actually am glad to see them, but they also can suck me down into memory lane for hours.
I knew I needed to finally take the help I have been offered. I kept putting it off, not wanting anyone to see how my craft room looked like a hoarders oasis. I had decided to take on one room at a time, and to suck it up and take the help of my type A friends and relatives. I was also happy to hear that my friend that lost her husband did a similar project by paying a teen for the summer to help her sort items. That way she could dole out small projects and not be overwhelmed. I had a girlfriend help initially with sorting clothes, but I found in the last year I was unable to do much of anything besides survive.
So we spent the afternoon sorting kids craft stuff and my craft stuff. I had moments of tears when finding items of sentimental value. These items got there own box. My family member offered to take and sort the boxes of pictures I wasn’t ready to look at. The room got organized and some things left for a later date, but I am able to walk into the room now without dread.
My advice for anyone reading this is to help each other out. If you know someone going through a big change or a loss, offer a Sunday afternoon to sort their most challenging items or place in their house. Just make sure to leave the judgment of what they should be doing at home.
If you are that someone going through a loss or a huge change in your life, go ahead and ask for help. Take the help you turned away previously. There is almost always someone around, a retired person in your church group, a type A coworker, a teen that need summer work. Below is a craft from the Celebration of Life flowers
Memorial Rose Oil
- Dried Flowers
- small clear dropper bottles 1 ounce
- small gift tags
- Almond oil 16-ounce bottle
- jojoba oil 4- ounce
- vitamin E oil capsules
- essential rose oil
- (optional) vanilla essential oil
First, lay your flowers out on a screen to dry. Roses are the best for this particular craft. Somewhere air can circulate around them, such as the garage. Forget about them for a few months while they dry.
Take one of the dried rose buds or petals and drop it into the bottom of the clear bottle. Then fill the bottle 1/2 of the way with almond oil. Add Jojoba oil until it is 3/4 full. Add two drops of rose oil. You can also add one drop of vanilla. Mark the gift tag with the date or name of remembrance. You can give your memorial rose oil to friends and family or you can choose a larger dropper bottle and make yourself a larger body oil size. Rose oil has been known for its anti-aging properties and a small 1-ounce bottle sells for about $15 in stores.