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Going to be a tough week or so ahead
Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 6:56 PM
Joined: 4/19/2012
Posts: 414

Now that I am being pushed to pick out what I want from my parents house, because there will be an estate sale in about 10 days, I am a mess. It has only been a little over 2 months now since they both died.


I can't look at the pictures I took of that place without tearing up all over the place.

Some things have been there all of my 58 years. Some show how much they loved a certain thing or collection. That was always "home", even though I didn't want to live there, grin. But it was home and it was them.


I logically know I will always have the memories even though the items are gone. I know owning the object won't bring my old life back.


But now I pick and choose, only to change my mind every day or every hour. I want things I never even collected, or was interested in, just because they were always there. Childhood memories. I guess that is what I want to keep.


I don't know how to go about this, I don't want any regrets, I just don't know how to make this very final decision. Any ideas??

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 7:48 PM
Joined: 1/24/2012
Posts: 69

I know this will be hard for you. I cant tell you how to do it but just remember its just stuff and sometimes it just complicates our lives. My important stuff is the pictures cause you cant go out and buy them and just looking at them brings back all the memories. Nothing was really important to my John towards the end so I lost any attachment to it.  Jewelry is a good thing to keep also.
Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 11:28 PM
Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 26

Something that is helping me is thinking about how much some things will mean to people who can't afford them.  Donating things I can afford to donate that will be used immediately instead of stored away in the dark helps me part with them.

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 11:29 PM
Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 26

It says cloudsilver, but I am cloudvacation.


Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 7:16 AM
Joined: 12/2/2011
Posts: 726

Oh Faraway -- How to deal with "the stuff" is really tough.  I think that my sister (who is far away like you) is having a hard time with it.  She took a ton of stuff back home with her.  That was fine, but I think it's because she doesn't want to miss anything. Now she is having a hard time fitting it all in at her house and knowing what to do with it all.  


I said to her one time, have you thought about these things in the past?  What things do you think about and miss?  Don't get me wrong... I have kept things too.  One of the things that I was happiest to find was a little toy.  I used to play with it in my father's office.  It was always on his desk.  I was overjoyed when I found it in my dad's top dresser drawer.  It's a little thing, but it made me so happy. It makes me think of him every time I see it.  But I don't want to set up a museum to my parents.  I don't want to live their life over again. 


My parents' house is still set up pretty much like when they lived there.  We will be selling it soon.  I think that I will be relieved when it sells.  Then, I can finally have the memories of my folks, but move on with my life.


What will you want that will instantly bring back a happy memory?  Put a smile on your face years from now?  It might not be something big or valuable.  Only you will know what that is.  


Know that I will be thinking of you and understanding how hard this is.  Good luck. Hugs....

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 8:49 AM
Joined: 3/11/2012
Posts: 433

Oh, faraway, I feel for you. That's a tough one. I'm a real keeper of stuff. My husband would probably say border line horder! I don't want to get rid of anything that Mom gave me. He tells me I can't keep everything just because she gave it to me. There comes a time something isn't useful anymore and it has to go. I agree that pictures and jewelry are a must. I also have some pillowcases that Mom cross-stitched for me. That is something I would never part with. I also now have my Mom's tea cup collection. She wanted me to have it and I know how much it meant to her so now it means alot to me. Those are the kinds of things that are worth keeping. Things that were special to your loved one. And things that spark a memory - an "Oh, I remember when moment". Those are the things to keep.


I wish you luck. And I wish for you peace and strength. It's not an easy thing to do. There will be tears. But there will be laughter, too. You will experience sadness but you will also be reminded of so many good memories. So try to focus on the good times. You'll get thru it.



Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 8:52 AM
Joined: 12/2/2011
Posts: 726

@Oceanbum -- My mom collected teacups, too!  She gave some to a dear friend and my sister and I each have some.  I love to look at them and use them occasionally. They will always remind me of my mom.
Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 9:06 AM
Joined: 3/11/2012
Posts: 433



It's kind of ironic that I have the tea cup collection. There is a funny story that goes along with them. When we were little Mom kept them on the mantle and we were never allowed to touch them. I decided to get one down one day and play with it. Well, you know what happened. I broke it. So I knew I was going to get in HUGE trouble. I decided I would blame it on my oldest brother. You see I never lied and he got in trouble for lying all the time. So I knew they would believe me and not him. So when they asked who broke the tea cup I told them it was him and they believed me. He denied it but they didn't believe him. So they punished him. Well, we lived in a 2 story house with an open staircase. My brother caught me at the top of the stairs and held me out over the railing and threatend to drop me if I didn't tell the truth. He said "Did you break the tea cup?" and, of course, I started crying. He shoved me out again and repeated the question until I finally confessed to him that I did. He told me that I was going to tell Mom & Dad that I did it. He shoved me out over the railing until I agreed. Then he started to put me down. But then suddenly he picked me up again and shoved me out over the railing and said "I will chase you down and drop you if you tell Mom & Dad that I did this!" So I confessed and got punished for breaking the tea cup & lying. I did finally tell Mom & Dad about the whole incident but I was in my 30's when I did!! So now when I look at the tea cups not only do I think of how much Mom loved them - I think of that story and being held over the railing by my brother!! Lol

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 9:13 AM
Joined: 12/2/2011
Posts: 726

OMG, what a story!!!  Hahahaha.  I love it!  That's why we keep the things we do. One look at those teacups and it brings it all back.  A connection to our past.  Hope this helps, Faraway.
Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 10:39 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105



As you know, I'm in the same boat.  My sibling asked me to come up with a list of what I wanted.  It's a partial list, I'm keeping the things that meant something to my parents, but there's a lot of that.  They loved their home and that will be the most difficult thing for me to let go of.  My dad put a lot of work and love into it and my mom, it was their very first and last home.  They were shunned by their families for a long time because we were renters.  My parents in their early 50's scraped up money for a down payment and bought a wonderful house and they loved it.  I was so excited the day we moved in, that I slept out in the backyard that night, it was our first ever backyard.  So parting with this, is going to bring me to my knees, I know it is.  I'm trying to get myself used to the idea of it.


Then there's the furniture, I can't keep everything, I have a small condo and the dining room furniture my mother was so excited to get, just wouldn't fit.


I chose some small pieces of furniture that are old and I will try and restore them.  I'm keeping a dining room chair from my dad's mom.  When my dad was first diagnosed with dementia, I thought it would be a good project for him and I to restore.  He wasn't able to and I told him I would take it home and work on it and bring it back to him.  I never got the chance to finish it, so I have to do that now.  I'm taking my parents' silver, a little glass horse some people up the street blew themselves for my dad, my mom's doilies she crocheted, some of her needlework, a cross stitch I did for them, pictures, some of my dad's tools because he loved them.  I'm keeping the set of china that I bought for my mom when I first started working.   I'm keeping half of the comic books my sibling and I bought when we were kids. 


I would love to keep everything, I would love to keep the house, but I can't. 


The problem is our loss is very recent, we haven't integrated the loss into our lives yet, and here we are having to think about dividing up everything.  There should be a waiting period, but other people involved have their own ideas.  I don't think this process ever gets easier no matter how long we have, but having to rush throw it, is in my opinion, cold, if there is no urgent need, if there is, I can understand, but if there is no urgent need, it should be done gradually until everyone can get a chance to catch their breath. 


I want to keep the things that cannot be replaced.  I've kept a few of my mom's dresses and a few of my dad's flannel shirts.  I'm keeping things that have my parents' handwriting on them.  I want to be able to still see that.  I'm keeping my dad's bag of marbles.


I don't have the room or space to keep everything so I'm having to dwindle down my list of important and special things.   I can let go of the furniture other than the old pieces, I can let go of the kitchenware.  The pingpong table is another hard one, my dad at 90 could still play a good game of pingpong.


Keep the things that stir a good memory for you.  Keep the things that were representative of your childhood, keep the things you gave to your parents.  Keep the things that were representative of your relationship with your parents.  I think in this situation, it may be better to take more rather than less, once in your possession, you will have them and you can decide in your own timeframe what you can part with.




I think your story about you and your brother is great.  I got a whooping for something my sister did, but I never told on her, I think she owes me big time for that one.



Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 1:28 PM
Joined: 4/19/2012
Posts: 414

I am glad everyone shared stories and memories, it helps all of us.


KML, I understand why you are so upset about the house. I know the sadness you and all of us speak of. I don't know if you or I will ever be prepared. I wish this was happening 6 months from now, it is too soon for me.


My mom had a variety of collections, so I am taking just one piece of each. I already have a couple of cannons from my dads massive collection.


It is the childhood memories that just tear me up. So many things have been in the same place ie wall, table, etc for my entire life. So many pictures on the walls, the one over the fireplace has always been there, the ones on the stair landing have always been there and on and on.


Their first dining set from 1945/46 is there still pristine too. You can see the decades pass in that house, I can name a piece of furniture or something from 1950,60,70,80,90, and even 2000 on. It is all there. And soon it won't be.


I really want more than I can use, so I am trying to hold back. I don't want to reestablish their home in my home.


I guess I should resign myself to lots of tears until the sale is over next weekend.

It is hard to focus on my life, on moving forward right now.


Some mentioned jewelry. LOL do you know how much jewelry a 95 yr. old has?

I am getting some. She had A LOT of jewelry.I picked out "memory" pieces, pieces I remember her wearing when I was young.


There are at least 10-12 photo albums and then just boxes and boxes of loose photos. So frickin many.


I still feel mom visiting with every little piece of nature that visits me. A butterfly on my snap dragons, a lady bug on the wall, don't know why I see that as mom but I do. Haven't really found or heard from dad yet, not sure how he will "visit".





Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 8:50 AM
Joined: 4/19/2012
Posts: 414

This AM the friend who is running the sale sent me the ad. I cried reading it. The estate of B & K *********, in same home for 60 years........etc.......


My screen is filed with files, files of appraisers lists, dealer lists, my lists of household I want, my list of jewelry I want........This is really really hard.


And I am glad I am not there. I couldn't do it. I also know the comedy of errors that will happen, small neighborhood but hundreds of cars, very different personalities, sis, the estate guy, my bro who is clueless to the cost of things.


But it is very hard to think it will be and is being torn apart.


I bet 3/4-1/2 of it will still be there after all this. My parents "collected" tons of things. Sis has no clue, as I asked her yesterday "you do realize there will have to be more than one sale?" She was unresponsive.


And my bday is the day before the sale........there will be no phone call of mom and dad singing terribly "Happy Birthday"........but that is ok, I have it in my memories.

It is one of the "firsts" I have to go the next year.



Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 8:57 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 799

I had to clear out my mother's home and sell it while she was still alive.  She was in a home and we knew she was never coming back.  We needed the money for her care.


That being said, I had to get rid of all of her stuff - and her home at the same time.  When the apartment finally sold and we had a closing date, I had to clean out the place.  I would go there and find myself just lying on the couch - I couldn't do it.  I called charities to come and get stuff, but they wouldn't (didn't have trucks or could only do it months later).  I called her cleaning lady and she and her "relatives" came and took everything.   My sister and I first took what we wanted, which wasn't really much.  She still has boxes of things unopened in her attic from two and half years ago.  I took some pictures and a few things that reminded me of when I was growing up.  I live in a studio - I couldn't take much.  Anyhoo, when the stuff was leaving - I bawled like I never had before.  I didn't know it was going to hit me like that.  It's good that you won't be there, it was probably the hardest part of this whole journey for me.  Part of it could have been the guilt of getting rid of her home and her stuff while she was still alive - I felt like I was doing it behind her back, which I was.