Going through my Mum's things, a year after her death...

Dad’s moving to a smaller house, a year and a bit after Mum dying. We’re trying to make the best of all being here in the house together, it’s an important time. But I feel like I’m about to explode much of the time. All her things, some obvious like clothes but some less obvious like her payslips… it’s too much to take in, I’m too overwhelmed to cry. It’s such a huge task too, decades of life in the house, so much stuff to filter through. Good and bad experiences of being a family. All coming to an end. And like so many things after a death, exhausting hard work.

It feels too soon to be doing this, I’m all choked up.

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Hi Treehugger, I don’t think there is a good time to go through a loved ones belongings, you could leave a few more years and I’m willing to bet you would feel the same, there is no easy answer to it, I wish there was, maybe someone on this site might have some advice for you, sending love Jude xx

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I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time with going through your mums things. It’s nearly 11months since my mum passed and my Dad and I have bagged up about half her clothes for charity and gone through a few other cupboards etc. It’s so hard to discard things that were important to our mums. I felt guilty for throwing her things away. For us we have only tackled one area at a time and then left it all again for a month or more. I certainly couldn’t face doing it all at once. For me a little at a time has stopped it all becoming overwhelming. It gives us time to decide what we want to keep and It also allows my dad to take time and fill the little empty space with other things, so he’s not confronted with big empty drawers and wardrobes.
I’m just grateful we have the luxury of no time limits to take over this. I know a lot of people don’t have this and I can’t imagine how much more difficult that can be.

Take care
Lynn x

Thanks Lynn. I do think it would be better for me to do it more slowly like you seem to be doing, much more gentle. But my dad feels like he just wants to get done with it as he feels like he’ll be too old to move house if he leaves it any longer, which I totally get. So we’re trying to make it happen for him but the down side is it’s extremely stressful for the time being. There’s no one or right way to do this I know, every family has different circumstances and needs that influence how it all happens.

So sorry you’re in a similar, if less frantic, boat. It’s not a place any of us wanted to be x

Thanks Jude xx

I’ve realised in my feed I asked if it was normal to feel guilty in throwing their things out and now seen this. Keep certain things - as odd as it is but payslips can feel sentimental. My dad kept a bunch from the 50’s and 60’s from when he worked at sea, and just seeing the currency in different form to how it is now seemed cool. I’ve also kept old records of where he sailed from/to…I wish I’d seen these when he was here to ask him about them, but they’re cool nonetheless so I’m keeping them.
My Dad has only been gone just over 6 weeks so I’ve not thrown/given away clothes of his yet, but I’m keeping some to wear as a jacket and ties to make into a ribbon for my bouquet when I get married, and someone suggested a pillow case of his clothing…My Dad lived a 25min drive from me, and each time I go there, I set about doing more than I do as it’s exhausting going through their belongings and I find I’ve barely got anywhere, so take it easy on yourself for finding it hard, it’s the hardest thing we’ll go through. In terms of your Dad moving to a smaller house, maybe offer to take some things with you, as that way he’s not losing them by downsizing, and they’d be things that might stand out to you? x

That’s a wonderful idea about making your Dad’s ties into a ribbon for your wedding bouquet. I really like the idea of continuing to use things.

The payslips are a record of their experiences and hard work. I’m definitely keeping Mum’s well-used passports, school reports etc. Even if I can’t chat to her about them now, it’s quite a warm feeling having those bits of her story.

It is exhausting and much more endless than I’d imagined. I live in a very tiny flat so am considering renting a small storage unit just so I can have the option of keeping a few things for myself. That probably sounds a bit mad but I live in London so space is what I don’t have!