Home Forums Challenges Sentimental Clutter Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

This topic contains 84 replies, has 26 voices, and was last updated by  JuliaJayne 6 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #159782

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Hi everyone 🙂

    It’s been a while since I posted. I needed to take a break because as my father’s health deteriorated, I found that many things that I once got excited about seemed trivial in comparison, and it was showing in my posts. If I offended anyone I am sorry. My dad died a few weeks ago, and while it’s hard, he was weary of being sick all the time and life being such a struggle.

    I’m writing for advice. My mom is talking about getting rid of some of dad’s things now. My brother took what he wanted, and I got rid of the medical supplies, but everything else remains. Mom hasn’t even thrown out his toothbrush or grooming supplies. His aftershave is still on the vanity in the bathroom. She wants me to come over and get rid of the rest of his clothes, but I don’t think she’s ready. She still finds comfort being surrounded by his things, but at the same time, it looks like he could have left for a few minutes and is coming back.

    I don’t know what to do. If she had started to bag up or throw out at least a few times on her own I wouldn’t be concerned. She wants ME to do it, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. What do you think?

  • #207628

    NYCPakRat
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. I hope as time goes by you will remember the good memories over the bad.

    It’s only been a few weeks. You need to talk to your mother about what she is ready to deal with. You’ll probably have to start off small. Maybe start donating some of his clothes. Take it slow. It took us forever to start cleaning out my brother’s things after he passed. We just couldn’t deal with it. Your Mom is going to need time, and then do it gradually.

  • #207629

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Oh JJ- I am so so sorry.

    My Dad was the same way, he wanted everything of my Mom’s gone, right away, days after she passed. I couldn’t do it, and told him so. I told him I thought we should wait a couple weeks and then I would help him do anything he wanted. I mean he literally wanted me to get rid of her clothes the first week she was gone.
    I got rid of her meds within a a day or two, but that was it. The only thing he went through of hers was her purse and wallet, practical man that he is, he figured if there was money in her wallet, well….he might as well get it.

    I would ask her to tell you “honestly” what she wants to get rid of, now that it has been a couple weeks. Have her come through the bedroom or bathroom first. but have her come with you and point out what she wants gone. take a bag/box and just toss what she points to. this may take awhile, so set aside a good amount of time for it.
    just do as much as she and you can handle at once. it might be a little or it might be loads of stuff. this way you can see what’s going and if you want a thing or two.
    My dad would not have been able to do this on his own,no way. but by the time we started it, he was ready.
    I did wait until he was at church one morning and then dh and i went and did all her clothes. (sis and i had gone thru everything before and took what we wanted already)he was glad to have been out of the house while we did this. he wanted it done but couldn’t face it himself.

    No matter how old or how sick someone is, it is still a shock when a parent passes. My Mom was sick for quite awhile also, but the last time she was in the hospital, i thought it was the usual…she’d come back home a little worse for the wear, but she’d come home.
    there’s no way to be prepared for the emotional ups and downs you’ll be feeling. just try to accept your feelings and feel them.
    and take one day at a time.
    practical advice- eat, drink and sleep as much as you can and take it easy on yourself.

  • #207630

    djk
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JuliaJayne, please accept my condolences on the loss of your father. It’s been exactly 3 years since my mother passed away. It’s hard to lose a parent.

  • #207634

    lottielot
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad x

  • #207637

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    double post ???

  • #207638

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JuliaJayne: Sorry to hear about your loss. Were you close to your dad?

    I would say, “Mom, I can help you out that way if you want but I’m wondering if maybe you are comforted by having Dad’s things around right now? Would you like to keep anything?” And then I would listen to what she said. You could also put some of the things in a Justin Case box for a while. But as long as your mom can participate in the discussion reasonably I would keep the communication going and honor her feelings and support her that way. Also, is there anything you would like to keep of his? I would ask her for it/them. Also, the question is how you feel about doing it right now. Whether it would be too hard for you. You could also say, “Mom, it’s just too soon for me to help you do that. How about 4 weeks from now?” And then again, listen to what she says.

    Everyone is different. I think for my self I would like the help and support and have someone help me but I can’t say when – everyone walks in their own shoes. Everyone grieves in their own way.

    Sorry again for your loss.

  • #207641

    Northshore
    Participant

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JuliaJayne, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father.
    NTCH is right that everyone grieves in her own way. And Irishbell has given you some good suggestions about getting started with the project. I have a couple suggestions too based on my own experience and that of some recent widows. Unless your mother says differently, leave the aftershave— maybe she’d prefer it put away in a cabinet. If there are especially soft shirts or sweaters or ones that your mother might wear or use as a lap robe, leave them. Reminders of smell and touch can be very comforting. As Irishbell says, start in one room and take it slowly. My daughters helped me with this task and we shared some good memories while packing up the clothes. I still have a few of DH’s clothes and toilet items–I’m not quite ready to discard everything.

  • #207644

    ninakk
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Dear JuliaJayne, I was thinking of the the other day, wondering how you are doing. Now I know and I’m sad when offering you my sincerest and warmest condolences. I’m sorry you are dealing not only with your own grief, but also trying so hard to do what is the best for your mother. No matter what you end up doing, I’m sure it is out of love for both her and your father. It sounds like your mom needs someone beside her when she goes through the things left behind and maybe that’s all what she really needs? To share the feelings and the sorrow? My best to you and your family!

  • #207646

    luxcat
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    My mother chose to do things in stages, it took about six months as she slowly gave away clothes from the house, etc. Things that he used in the care facility we got rid of right away. Mom couldn’t face it so she sent my husband and I there and we asked the care facility of we could donate his clothes, electric razor, etc to someone who maybe didn’t have those items when they came in.

    I think the advice above is very strong. My heart is with you in this tough time. Please know that however trite it sounds, it DOES get easier. I’m no less sad after 5 years, but the rawness passes. Many blessings to you and your family, in whatever form best offered.

  • #207673

    bandicoot
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    julia, i am so sorry to hear of your loss.
    your family is in my thoughts.

    i think the timing for this sort of decluttering is different for everyone.
    i also think that if your mother has asked you to do this, then sheis ready for the stuff to be gone…..but she doesn’t want to be the one personally doing it. if that makes sense? you know how we have discussed here about it sometimes being easier to let something go if we just give it to a friend to take away? and ask no questions.
    have a gentle chat with her. ascertain exactly what she would like to do first. take the first step, and the second step will be easier.
    and if you need to talk about any of it here, we have good ears and good shoulders.

  • #207702

    Netleigh
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JJ, sorry to hear you’ve lost your Dad.
    I think perhaps suggest to your Mum she picks out a couple of his things to hold on to for a little longer and then help with getting all the rest of his clothes and toiletries away. It may be too much for her emotionally to see it around all the time.

  • #207703

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Thanks for all of your heartfelt replies. I’m very moved by your kindness, though I am not surprised at all. You are such great people. 🙂

    I realized after reading all of your comments that getting rid of dad’s things feels like it’s getting rid of him. I understand now why people hang on to their loved one’s possessions: it’s the final act of admission that they are really gone. It’s possible that I will have a harder time with this than my mother will experience. I can almost laugh at myself now for how many times I ignorantly said to people – some version of “the memory of your loved one isn’t in the stuff”. The reality is that there are memories attached to their things.

    I know mom wants to rearrange his room because she keeps the door closed during the day; seeing it empty is a constant reminder. The few times I forgot to close the door after going in dad’s room, I’ll see her wince, and grab the door knob with her eyes closed and then close the door. She is sleeping in his bed at night however, and plans to use that as her bedroom. They each had their own bedroom; dad was a restless sleeper and snored badly. Anyway, we’re going to get started tomorrow. I will take her lead as was suggested.

    There is a bit of a rush to get stuff cleared out, not only dad’s, but to also declutter the entire apartment because mom will probably move to a one-bedroom when one becomes available. My brother and his wife are coming next week to help.

    @NYC – I’m sorry about the loss of your brother. It must have been difficult to lose him.

    @Irish – I thought dad would survived the last event too, because he always had bounced back, but in retrospect, part of me knew he wouldn’t this time. I didn’t want to believe it either.

    @NTCH – I had gotten closer to my dad the last few years. I had spent so much time with him because of his illness. I did what I could to keep him out of a nursing home. He fought hard to stay home and I fought right along with him. He was a great dad; fun, loving and the buffer to mom’s crazy.

    @Nina – I’ve thought about you too. I know you went through this not long ago with your grandmother. I remember it was difficult for your family.

    @Northshore – I’m sorry about the loss of your husband. It’s something I can’t relate to on a personal level, which makes it hard to understand how mom is feeling. It’s good to have your perspective. Thanks for the reminder to not push. I have to keep my brother and his wife from going too far. The day after dad died, I called mom and I could tell she had been crying. My brother was there for the day, but had left to get a few things from the store. Mom said he had been taking all kinds of things out of dad’s closet. I went over there and saw the bed full of dad’s clothes. My brother, how had returned from the store, was planning on packing up what he didn’t want and take it to Goodwill. I was in shock. I told him it was too soon. I wanted to smack him over the head, but my brother is one of those people who is highly intelligent, yet got the short end of the stick when it comes to common sense. I know we don’t come equipped with a guide book with dealing with sort of thing, but geez.

    @luxcat – I’m very surprised that my mom wants to donate everything to charity. There is a rummage sale in her apartment building this week. Mom considered it, but she doesn’t want people buying dad’s things — too awkward and sad for her. I am relieved. That would have bee torture for me to help her get ready for that.

    @bandicoot – Yes, I think you are right – she is ready. I’m the one that isn’t ready, but I have to be the brave one. The calm, rational, loving one that eases her through this time. This is all so complicated. Mom fell in early February. Didn’t break anything, but after a few days in the hospital had to go to a rehab unit to recover and get physical therapy. She also aspirated, so she was being treated for aspirational pneumonia as well. Mom was barely walking, and then dad fell. Nothing broken either, but it was a bad fall for someone his age and condition. They were in different facilities, and when I found out that dad was dying, I had to get mom moved to where dad was. As soon as dad was gone, mom insisted on checking out of the nursing home. It was beyond stressful. I wasn’t even sure she’d be able to get through the funeral. The funeral was good for her. Lots of love was poured onto her, and in dad’s memory too.

    @ DJK, SecretSquirrel, LottiLot – thanks for your condolences. It’s very comforting to hear from you.

  • #207704

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Wow, that was a long post. I guess I need to vent a little.

    Thanks again, everyone. I do wonder how all of you are doing. I doubt I’ll be able to catch up with all the threads I have missed. I read a few and noticed that some of you have made giant leaps in your progress. I’m very proud of you. I’m sure I’ll be joining you again at some point. A few areas are starting to feel cluttery again. And who knows how much stuff I’ll end up bringing home when sorting out mom’s apartment 😉

  • #207705

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Thank you, Netleigh.

    I think you’re right. I am going to have a box or two to put things in that she’s not sure about. Actually, I’m going to introduce the keep/donate/unsure concept to her before we get started. There will be enough room to store some things. She’s already wearing his lounge pants. Actually, it was one of the first things she thought of after finding out that dad was dying. I didn’t think about it until now, but she held onto them for quite a while as if she was holding on to him.

  • #207706

    whit
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I’m so sorry for your loss, JuliaJayne. How very sad. I think there’s lots of great advice here, one thing I would add is (unlike regular uncluttering) I wouldn’t take bags of stuff to charity right away. If you can handle it, take them to your house or your car or a friend’s house for a few days first. That way if your mom gets in a groove one day, but the next realizes how much she really really wants that one shirt, you can pull it out. It’s very normal for this to take a long while and to need fewer comfort items as time goes by. I’ve been told that after a traumatic event like a death, the shock stage lasts for 4-6 weeks so be very kind to yourself. I’m so sorry…

  • #207708

    Netleigh
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JJ,
    I think you are handling this so wisely, you too might like to hold onto something of your Dad’s.
    It is such a tactile thing sometimes as opposed to it being just stuff.
    I myself kept a scarf, t-shirt nightie and a coat of my Mum’s for a long while. The scarf smelled of her, the nightie I’d only bought new for her a week or two before so I wore it myself until it wore out and I thought of her when I did wear it. The coat I never wore but she’d loved it and it lurked in my wardrobe for 5 years until I felt ready to let it go.

  • #207709

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Dear JuliaJayne,
    So sorry to hear about the loss of your father. My Dad died last October after suddenly becoming ill and then staying in hospital for nearly a month. He was then transferred to a hospice and then passed away after about 10 days. Like you, I have to go and help my mother sort out their house and perhaps start to deal with some of Dad’s possessions. This will be in 2 weeks time and will be the first time that I have seen my mother since the funeral as we live the other side of the country and it takes about 8 hours to get there. This will be a HUGE task as their house is stuffed to the rafters with everything and anything. Your thread will be very useful to me regarding all the advice that everyone has given, I shall be having a good read of it to see if it will help me in my situation as well.

    Keep well and take it all slowly, (sending a big hug)

  • #207712

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @whit – thank you. What you are saying about her changing her mind is one of the reasons I think it’s too soon. I can’t keep bags of his stuff, though. I can’t transfer that which already causes mom more grief, onto me. It will be too difficult to get rid of it once it was here. I have some things from my dad that he gave me when he was alive. I have the last shirt he wore before they stopped getting him dresses daily. Hospice was having it washed (which sucks), so I kept it to let it dry, but then decided to just keep it. I’m sure I will get more things if I want them — it depends on what my mother doesn’t want, or what we decide to pack away. I have given strict instructions to my brother that the photos are not to be removed from the apartment as well. I’m glad you mentioned it though. I will remember that when packing things away, and perhaps I may have to take a few boxes home when mom moves.

  • #207715

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Thanks, Netleigh. I haven’t had much time to grieve until recently, so thanks for reminding me that I will want some things. Even if someday I will let them go. There is so much to do and consider following a death. It was almost unrelenting with phone calls, funeral planning, mom’s finances, her health, medication changes, her inability to do much of anything the first 2 weeks. The rush to get rid of his stuff was overwhelming, but after talking to all of you, it’s starting to feel ok.

    I love you guys.

  • #207716

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    ClutterBug – I’m sorry for your loss as well.

    My dad was in hospice for 10 days, too. When there, I discovered a friend from long ago that was there at the same time. She is dying of cancer. I’m glad I got to see her and talk to her. It was very sad, and a very sad place to be, but it’s one of the most humane places on earth. The kindness of the hospice staff was incredible.

    I’m moved to tears that this thread will be helpful for you too. How amazing is that that I am being helped by all these kind hearts, and in turn it is helping you.

    Thanks, and Hugs back

  • #207722

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JJ-it is wonderful you are there to help your mother. It is also a huge responsibility.
    Also remember this is a terrible loss for you too, and at some point you may need to take a break. You need/want to be strong for your Mother, but some days it may be too much for you.

    I did that with my Dad, and he understood and respected it. While he was grieving his own loss, he wasn’t able to realize his children were grieving the loss of their Mother.

    When it came to packing up Moms things, Dad gave us kids “cart blanche” to take anything we wanted. My sibs and I talked calmly about what we each wanted, there were no hard feelings.
    I kept some things for my daughters and they were so happy for that!
    Whether your son was close with your Dad or not, one day he might be glad to have kept something of his Grampas.

    We all know, in our heads, that our parents will likely pass before us, it is expected in the “circle of life”, we know how sad it will be to lose a parent, but no one ever tells you how bad it is.
    that you will feel it in your heart, not in your head.
    you can’t expect that you’ll know how to deal with it.
    you just deal any way you can. 🙂

    not to be morose in any way, but there was some wonderful advice for me in this thread: https://unclutterer.com/discuss/topic/decluttering-after-a-death

  • #207729

    chacha1
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JJ, my condolences. Your mom is lucky to have you and I’m sure your dad felt the same. <3

  • #207731

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Many thanks, JuliaJayne

  • #207736

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Irish – My body eventually forced me to take time off. My hands had been shaking for weeks from all the running between their apartment,the hospital and nursing homes. Social workers, doctors and nurses calling – it seemed like my phone rang constantly. Trying to gently break bad news to each of my parents. Then after dad died, it seemed like all hell broke loose: all the people to call, people crying on the phone needing to be consoled, all the plans. There seemed to be an assumption that I was the grownup, the strong one, but in reality I felt like a little girl who was losing, then lost her daddy. I was holding my breath expecting my mom to snap. The visiting nurse was half expecting her to snap too.

    I knew I needed rest. One morning I got up, and about an hour later I could barely move. It was if my body partially shut down. It happened again 3 days later. I took this weekend off. And yesterday and today.

    I am feeling better now. My hands don’t shake anymore and I’m sleeping well. I cleaned my house on Saturday! Even though I don’t like cleaning, especially vacuuming and dusting, it took me hours and I enjoyed every minute of it because it felt normal.

  • #207737

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Thank you, ChaCha

    My parents openly showed their appreciation for the things I did.

  • #207742

    Irulan
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I’m so sorry for your loss, JuliaJayne. It sounds like you are handling this better than anyone should have the right to expect of you. You are a loving daughter, and knowing that will mean a lot to you when you look back at this time period after the raw edge of grief has dulled a little.

    Is there anyone to whom you can delegate some tasks? People genuinely want to help at times like this, but they don’t know what to do. If you can, take them the help that they offer, even if it’s for stupid things like sorting mail or picking up things from the store. You don’t have to do this alone.

  • #207743

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Gosh, JuliaJayne, sounds like it was a good thing that your body shut down if you know what I mean, otherwise it sounds as if you would probably have had a physical breakdown. Hope you are feeling a bit better physically, try to take it as easy as you can amidst what’s going on.

  • #207751

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Thank you, Irulan. My mom lives in an apartment building for seniors. There are activities on a regular basis. My parents were involved in most of these activities, and their friends encouraged mom to get back on the bike, so to speak, right away. She also has someone who takes her to the grocery store, and to general doctor appointments. I tried doing the mail, but mom thinks she still can do it, and is fighting me on it. I’m getting her long-term financial situation squared away. I’m going to make sure that’s all locked up and take the key before my brother and his wife arrive next week to help mom. Mom has friends who check in on her and one of her cousins livse in the building who lost her husband 2 years ago. Surprisingly, mom’s been kept pretty busy. She is having trouble with meals, but that is nothing new. That is laziness – it’s been that way for years. I have things in the freezer for her, and I’m making things for her as we go along. That is an issue that will never be resolved. She’s starting to hint that she doesn’t like eating dinner alone. I need to get a job soon so it forces her to fend for herself better. She is capable.

  • #207752

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Clutterbug – I am feeling better, I still need a nap occasionally, but that’s ok.

    I do need the reminder though. The next few days are going to be draining.

  • #207762

    bandicoot
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    please take as many naps as you need.
    grief is absolutely exhausting, just by itself, before you even start to deal with all the other details that come up immediately.
    be kind to yourself.

  • #207769

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Bandicoot, I just told my mom the same. 🙂

    I had nice visit with her earlier. Armed with all the wise advice and kindness that I got from all of you, I was able to make her feel a little better. She thought she should be done being sad and tired!

    We talked about taking care of things tomorrow, and I got a good feel for what she has in mind. I think she wants the bedroom to not remind her of dad being sick. I can do that. I also talked to her about taking all the time she needs to get rid of his stuff, and it’s ok to wait until she’s ready. I talked about next week not deteriorating into a purging frenzy.

    She wants to go shopping and buy new curtains, a bedspread, and a new lamp. I think that is healthy. She seems ready for tomorrow.

    Thanks again everyone.

  • #207770

    pkilmain
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    All this advice is helpful. My dear BIL died in May last year, and we are visiting his wife and daughters (both adults with families) for Easter. While we “know” that my SIL has gotten rid of a lot of BIL’s stuff, we haven’t been in the house since the funeral at the end of last June when everything was just as he’d left if. I think it will be an adjustment for me, and esp for my DH, to be at the house without him, and without his things. I think I’ll try to talk with DH before we go so that we can mentally prepare for seeing what we know through phone calls has been happening. We are very close with this part of our family and talk with one or more of them at least once a week.

  • #207771

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Pkilmain- youre right to think that might be a rough trip for you two.
    But I think the fact that you will all be together will be as healing as anything could be.

  • #207773

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JJ- my dad found a GF and moved out of his and my moms condo less than 6 months
    after her death. Despite the condo being newer, only 5 years old and built to their specifics,
    much more convenient and comfortable than the GFs 50 year old house, he simply could not bear to live there without her.
    I can surely understand your Mom not wanting to be reminded of your dads sickness and in this case,
    shopping for new furnishings is what the doctor ordered! Maybe a nice quiet lunch at a lovely restaurant after shopping!

  • #207785

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Yes, sometimes it feels like a place carries the imprint or essence of a person and everywhere you turn you are reminded of them, bringing too much sadness. I don’t know if that’s something that one needs to go through or escape from.

  • #207787

    bandicoot
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    i think some new furnishings can go a long way to changing the vibe in a space.
    also, i don’t know if this is your cup of tea at all, but i like to use a smudge stick for these sorts of occasions.
    i am not a pagan or a wicca practitioner, but i find the very act of lighting the smudge stick and cleansing the space with intention, to be very effective.
    even if it is all in my own mind……it is the only one i’ve got, after all 🙂
    and i love how burning essential oils can alter the energy in a room.
    your mum might like some lavender and bergamot and sandalwood mixed together. calming, joyfully uplifting, and grounding….all at once.

  • #207806

    Northshore
    Participant

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JJ, I think you’re handling things with gentleness and respect for your mother’s feelings. It sounds like she has some support from other friends and relatives and that’s good. Changing the bedroom decor sounds like a great idea and will be a positive change amid all the negative ones.

    Be sure you’re taking care of yourself and getting the support you need.

    Eating alone after years of having a companion is difficult and you might encourage your mother to ask that cousin over for a meal. I’d love to have a daughter eating with me every night. Instead, I am learning to invite friends, neighbors and acquaintances to share casual meals and we all enjoy it. It took a while to have the energy to do this.

  • #207826

    Joless
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I lost my Mum about 11 years ago now, and it took my Dad and I a long time to slowly pass on her things. I think it was at least 6 months or longer before we went through her clothes, and he still has stuff around which was hers (though a lot of that is probably down to inertia, and he probably just doesn’t see the stuff any more!)

    I took some things to keep myself, but have slowly come across them and been able to think, I don’t need to keep that any longer.

    Everything you see and do brings back a memory at first, but as you introduce new things and new activities and places, fewer things are associated with your loved one, and it gets easier.

    Thinking of you @JuliaJayne. Don’t forget it’s ok to look after yourself, and to try and laugh and smile and enjoy life. Your Dad would want you to be ok.

    My cousin said the most useful thing to me, he said ‘you won’t get over this, but you will get used to it’, and ‘things will be normal again, but it will be a different normal’. Clever boy.

  • #207833

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Joless- your cousin is wise indeed.
    I had very few people say those honest and true things to me, but they were the ones that helped the most.

  • #207896

    Irulan
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I’m glad to hear that you have so much help in supporting your mom, JuliaJayne. I hope that helps you to take some time for yourself, as well. It does sound healthy for your mom to want to remove the reminders of sickness. I imagine that those kinds of memories are more oppressive than the memories of happier times.

  • #208712

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Hi JuliaJayne,
    How is it going/how did it go at your mum’s?

  • #208716

    badkitti
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your father JJ.

  • #208769

    JulieK
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JuliaJayne, I too am terribly sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I work with hospice patients and I see first-hand how difficult this is for families. My comments may not specifically address your question but two things instantly came to mind that might be helpful for you or others who find themselves grieving the loss of a loved one.

    1. Almost all hospice services are able to recommend bereavement services that are low-no cost. I cannot recommend people take advantage of these services. Sometimes people aren’t ready to confront the death, but weeks, or months later, the services are still available to help people.

    2. One volunteer for the facility I work with takes a person’s clothes and makes quilts and teddy bears out of the materials. Taking advantage of this service, seems to really help people go through the process of getting rid of someone’s belongings. You get to keep a sentimental reminder of them that serves a use as well.

    Hope all went well!

  • #209480

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Thanks, badkitti

    Clutterbug – it’s been a slow process. She wants to make changes, but she’s not always in the right frame of mind. One day I popped in on her and we ended up going through dad’a closet. I was surprised how well she did. We laughed, told stories and cried. She cleaned out his dresser too. We did a few things today too. Not much, but progress is being made. Dad’s aftershave is still on the vanity.

    JulieK – last fall I took the CNA course and thought I’d like to work with hospice patients. After dad died I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it. The flow of people through the 12 bed facility boggled my mind.

    That’s so cool that a volunteer makes things from the clothes. I saved a pair of flannel pants of dads that he wore often. Before mom put them in the charity bag, she hugged them and cried a little. My plan it to make a lap quilt for mom. I’m hoping to have it done before their wedding anniversary in June, but I’m having a hard time cutting them up.

  • #209481

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Hi Joless

    I read what you wrote a couple of weeks ago (I think it was a couple of weeks ago…

    “‘you won’t get over this, but you will get used to it’, and ‘things will be normal again, but it will be a different normal’.”

    I think of that often and I find it comforting. Our family tried to be normal today, but it was strained and awkward. Dad’s birthday is coming up. I have no idea how to deal with that.

  • #209486

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Hi JuliaJayne, Glad to hear that you and your mum are coping as best as you can. I went to visit my mum this past week and helped more by rearranging large pieces of furniture for her to give her more space rather than decluttering as such. Although I did get rid of about 10 bottles of wine that were well past their drinking date, many from a cabinet that we moved that she didn’t realise held bottles of drink (given as presents over the years) as it couldn’t be opened due to stuff in front of it. Also moved the broken microwave that she couldn’t move so hopefully she has the new and smaller one set up now. Regarding some of my dad’s old clothes, I was quite surprised that she had got rid a lot after he had died but they were more the scruffy work clothes, I thought she would have had more of a problem with that but saying that there are still tons of new clothes to be dealt with.
    We also went to my dad’s brother’s Wedding Anniversary Party while we were there and I was glad that we were able to go with her, I think it wouldn’t have been easy going on her own to the first family get-together since he has gone and she seemed to enjoy it a bit more as we were there with her although it must have still been hard for her.
    Like you, my dad’s birthday is coming up, on the 13th of April, and I was also wondering how that will go.
    Take care.

  • #209502

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    What are you doing for your dad’s party?

    I’m trying to figure out how best to treat that day.

  • #209508

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    this is how we found our way through the first year after my Moms death.
    she passed almost a year and a half ago the day after Thanksgiving, it was also the day after her 78th birthday.

    that first year, birthdays and holiday celebrations are painful, there is no getting around it. i tried very hard to get us all together whenever i could, as neither of my sibs would do anything.

    i suggested a few months after her passing that we four have a special day on her birthday. this is what i came up with as no one else wanted to talk about it or try to figure out if we should even celebrate. my dad,sis, bro and I went to the columbarium at the church where her ashes are and had a little silent time with Mom, held hands and cried some. then we went out to lunch and had a marvelous time. this will be our ritual!
    i think having had a years worth of time to “adjust” to her being gone made her birthday “easier”.

    i have not gotten “over” her death, nor has it gotten “better”, but it has gotten easier to live with. life goes on, but it is different. I know damn well she would not want me miserable and sad every time i think of her. that is something else that time truly helps, you can think of your loved ones and smile and laugh, not just be sad.

  • #209511

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    JuliaJayne,
    Re: Dad’s birthday – It’s a bit difficult as I live so far away from my mum, the other side of the country and it takes about 9 hours on the coach for example. As we have just been down to visit I won’t be down again for a while so it will just be a case of me phoning her on the day to see how she is, that’s the big problem with being so far away. Also, I don’t have any siblings so there are no others who live nearer to her who could perhaps be with her or do something for the day. I suppose in your case, you could ask your mother and any other family how they feel and how they would like to spend the day and take it from there. Irishbell has given some good advice, (Thanks Irishbell). Perhaps you could do something like that, even if it’s just yourself with your Mother if the rest of the family don’t feel comfortable yet with acknowledging/celebrating his birthday (sorry, I’m not sure what word is appropiate but I expect you know what I’m trying to say).

  • #213253

    Larousse
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    My mum died 5 years ago now, and sorting out her stuff was such a huge task, that my siblings and I are now trying to live uncluttered lives to avoid the same thing happening again! My mum was an only child and she was a terrible hoarder, she wanted to keep everything that had ever belonged to her parents, and consequently I never learned to put things away because all the cupboard space in my bedroom was full of my late grandparents’ clothes.
    My mum never threw away a single old handbag or purse (US readers, that’s purse/pocketbook ;-)). So it was quite an adventure emptying her old wardrobes… packed with carrier bags full of old handbags, each handbag packed with old purses, each purse full of old receipts, diary notes, sometimes jewellery, coins… and often little wads of tissue paper that contained an unidentified milk tooth or lock of hair.
    Anyway, I “inherited” various memorabilia from my parents’ house, some useful, some not. I chose one of the handbags that I was most likely to actually use and brought it home with me. Have never used it, and now 5 years later I came across it – in the bottom of my wardrobe. (eerily resembling my mum’s habits). Thankfully it was not (yet) full of milk teeth and bits of paper.
    Coincidentally, I recently bought a new handbag so I was able to look at this one with an objective and critical eye. Not the right colour (dark prune/red), not the right style (short handles, no long strap) – and slight signs of rust on the fastenings. So – *** I threw it in the (goodwill) bin!!! ***
    I was amazed at how liberating this was!
    My next project is sorting through the huge amount of bedlinen that we have accumulated/inherited and keeping only enough for our needs. Another step away from my mum’s clutter “genes” – she had loads of unused sheets, tablecloths and sewing materials. Probably a reaction from having lived through clothes rationing, but very tedious to declutter!

  • #213262

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @Larousse – thanks for bringing this thread up. It was just what I needed to read (GWIMW) as I have just had a great loss in my life. I don’t know yet what decluttering helper role I will be playing there. Agony!

    I’ll look into what kind of help and suggestions hospice offers.

    Grieving sucks.

  • #213272

    chacha1
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    NTCH, sorry to hear you’ve joined the list of the recently bereaved. 🙁 Best wishes for peaceful dealings.

  • #213288

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Oh my, Condolences to you NTCH.

  • #213315

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Thanks chacha1 and irishbell. Waves of sadness. Moments of tears.

    http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/someone_died.html

    http://ag.udel.edu/extension/fam/fm/issue/grief.htm

    http://friendsdontletfriendsdie.com/flash/MoreGriefResources.swf

    http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm (this one looks pretty good at first glance)

    I was on the way to my MD’s office when I heard the news so when my doc said, oh your blood pressure is good I responded, “It’s usually better but I just heard …” – so later in the exam MD related story of what happened to him when he had big loss in his life and how he would burst into tears all of a sudden for about a year – he’d find himself driving and then all of a sudden crying. One of the grieving sites I read said everyone is different and crying could be longer than a year and also said that some people don’t cry either.

  • #213320

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    NTCH- you are smart to know everyone is different in their grief, and for whom they are grieving.
    It was months before I looked to the web for advice and info on grief, (after my Mom passed) I wished
    I had done it sooner! It took me by such surprise how hard it was to cope.
    Like I posted above, it’s been over 18 months and I still cry (mostly) every day.
    But, it’s not the desperate sadness kind of weeping that it was at first.

  • #213377

    Joless
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    My condolences to you 🙁 I remember being extremely angry when I lost my mother, that she would miss so much of my life (I was 22). It hits everyone differently and nothing is right or wrong.

  • #213416

    Netleigh
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    NTCH, sorry to hear of your bereavement. Treat yourself kindly, everyone takes their own time to work through the sadness, you always miss the one who has gone but time does make a difference.

  • #213479

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @Joless & @Netleigh – Thank you.

    Joless, I did feel some anger the other night. They say there are 5 stages of grief and anger is one of them.

    So painful.

  • #213482

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    NTCH — my thoughts are with you . . .

  • #213486

    lottielot
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Hugs, ntch x

  • #213501

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @susanintexas & @lottielot: thank you.

    Waves of sadness. Moments of tears.

    The Kubler-Ross model is:

    denial
    anger
    bargaining
    depression
    acceptance
    [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model]

    http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

    I saw an article and a video on youtube where they talked about different reactions – like some people set up funds, some people are expressive, some people not so, some people do things. I found myself doing things – helping clean up and tossing trash – and doing stuff really helped for myself as well as expressing myself and talking to folks.

    Grieving sucks. I’m going to talk to a friend who just had a big loss himself. We’ll cry on each other’s shoulders…

  • #213513

    Sky
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    ntch….so sorry for your loss.

  • #213564

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @Sky, thank you so much. It’s hard. Waves of sorrow. Moments of tears. I’m listening to an audio book and reading a hard copy of another – both with crying triggers – it helps me cry out my sorrow.

  • #213571

    Northshore
    Participant

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    ntch, sending sympathy and hugs your way. Be gentle with yourself and embrace the sorrow of losing a loved one.

  • #213572

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @Northshore: thank you. I’m not sure I know how to be gentle with myself. How do you do that?

  • #213574

    Northshore
    Participant

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I did things that felt good. For me, this was eating nourishing meals, drinking a lot of water, taking naps when I was exhausted. I took long showers and used my good soaps and body creams. I accepted support and hugs from everyone who offered.
    I also spent a lot of time wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa, crying. I had just suffered a great loss and I was miserable. I accepted that and didn’t try to think that my life was okay just then.

    Grief is hard but the acute grief does subside in time.

  • #213577

    Joless
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @ntch hold tight. I felt such rage at the world and yet things will get to the stage where you can think nice thoughts and it doesn’t hurt so much. Remember that things won’t be normal again, but they will be ok. A different normal. And that’s ok. Hugs x

  • #213580

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @Northshore & @Joless: thank you.

  • #213589

    Sky
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I have unfortunately had too many loved ones pass on, including a 30 year old son.
    My best advice is to take it slow, be prepared for crying binges at the least expected times as you see, hear or smell something and don’t be in a rush to ‘get over’ someone. You never really do….you just learn to cope better and eventually you will remember the happy times more than the sadness.

  • #213649

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @Sky: thank you. I can’t wait for the remembering the happy times more than sadness.

  • #213665

    Irulan
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    I’m thinking of you, NTCH. Take care.

  • #213666

    paisley
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    So very sorry about your loss, NTCH.

  • #213684

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @Irulan & @paisley: thank you. There are times I feel I am flat lining … Grieving sucks!

    @irishbell: I talked to hospice today and they offer a lot of free services so I may look futher into that. Wanted to mention it to you in case you had something like this where you live. Grieving sucks!

  • #213698

    Anonymous

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    NTCH, I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds a little like you’re ping-ponging back and forth between numbness and wrenching sorrow. Believe it or not, that’s pretty normal.

    The normal thing is also that no two people grieve in the same way. Another normal thing is that Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief don’t follow one another neatly, like little ducks taking a walk. They get all jumbled up, and you can flash from one to another in less than a heartbeat. Or you can stay in one phase for days. The only road map is you.

    Taking care of yourself is great advice. Try picking one thing that you like to do and doing it each day. My self nurturing includes walks, favorite music, smelling flowers, a good stretch, funny movies, talks with my BFF, a cuddle with the dog, a nap, permission to cry, clean sheets on the bed, even though I just changed them a couple days before, etc. Whatever brings you comfort that you can easily do is best for now. Later on, you might want to help with a memorial service or other type of remembrance of your loved one.

    I’m tearing up as I write this, it brings back the losses I’ve had. No, missing your loved ones never goes away, nor should it. For me, it gradually became part of my life, not my whole life. I think of my parents several times a week, though they’ve been dead 4 and 22 years. I think of a couple beloved friends and several beloved pets and that pang of loss is still there. The great thing is, I also feel enormous joy that I had them all as long as I did.

  • #213700

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    So sorry NTCH and others. Grieving does suck and it never goes away completely because we have been lucky to have the love of family and friends in our lives. We always feel their loss. Condolences.

  • #213710

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @writing all the time & @Jackthetiger: Thank you.

    and @Sky: a 30 year old son – that must have been hard! I know this man who has seen two sons go, one from a car accident (leaving behind a young wife and child) and another I think from illness. The sadness and pain there!

    The reviews on Amazon.com are great for this book: http://www.griefcareprovider.com/

    From http://www.griefcareprovider.com/images/7%20Principles.pdf

    The Seven Principles of Human Grief:
    Understanding and Coping With Grief*
    J. Shep Jeffreys, EdD, FT
    Introduction
    The Seven Principles of Human Grief listed below will give you an understanding of what to expect and are followed by several suggestions of what you can do to help both yourself and others. Human grief comes in many sizes and shapes and can last for weeks, months or years. It goes along with the territory of being a living being. Human grief is normal — it is a natural reaction to loss or the threat of loss.
    Principle One: There is no one right way to grieve.
    Everyone grieves differently. Some tears are on the outside while other tears are on the inside. Neither way is right or wrong or better. We must respect the differences we have in the way we express our grief. Lack of crying is not a sign of being disloyal to those who have died. Some of the differences are caused by cultural and family variations in the way people have learned to express themselves when there has been a crisis and loss. Childhood messages about whether it was ok to cry, to express anger or fear, continues to affect how we react to loss and crisis throughout life. In addition, men in American culture are usually been expected to be less emotionally expressive than women and this may also be reflected in grieving style differences. New research identifies a continuum of grieving styles inclusive of both genders —from intuitive (emotional focus) to instrumental—action or problem- solving focus.
    Principle Two: You cannot fix or cure grief. While grief can be as wide spread as the common cold, it is not an illness which needs medical attention. You can’t fix it like a leaky faucet. The human grief reaction is a combination of thoughts, physical and emotional feelings, and behaviors that are designed, believe it or not, to enable us to survive. This is associated with the infant’s drive to attach for survival to a mother and the continuance of this drive to adult pairing and the yearning to re-establish the bond (grieving) when death or separation has occurred. It is, therefore, a normal way of reacting whenever we have already lost or are afraid we will lose someone or something important to us. The losses that create a grief response can be of a person, of physical or mental health, place, job, work routines, or the hope of ever being well and functional again.
    • Nature of Grief. The feelings of grief have been expressed as long as there have been human beings.
    Sadness, anger and fear are fairly usual but some can also feel guilt and shame as well. Our grief feelings come out as behaviors such as crying, sighing, verbal yearning, yelling, striking out physically, trembling, hiding, and
    running away. Some will say how they feel: “I’m so hurt;” “I’m very worried or scared;” “I’m very angry;” “I could just hit someone;” “I feel so sorry;” “I feel empty inside;” “My heart is aching;” “My body is in pain.” None of this is wrong or disordered.
    Thinking can also be affected in the grief response to loss or threat of loss. Some will have a sense of “what’s the use!” or “How can I go on?” “I don’t know what to do next!” “Who am I now in this new work setting?” Also—forgetfulness, confusion, lack of motivation and/or concentration—are very usual. For
    example, people will say, “I don’t know who I am anymore.” “My mind keeps wandering off my work.” “I keep forgetting where I put things or what I was about to do next!” “Am I going crazy?” These thoughts and even some conditions that ordinarily might be viewed as abnormal are typical of many people who are grieving. Examples of “normal crazy” are: seeing a deceased loved one standing at the foot of the bed, having a conversation with a dead relative, keeping clothes or other items of the deceased with you or even keeping the
    room or closet exactly the way it was.
    Thoughts also can be expressed as behaviors. These can include avoiding social activities, absence from work, not completing work tasks or home chores, poor personal hygiene, jumping from one activity to another, having an unusually disorganized and cluttered work or home environment. Of course, some of us can already have these behaviors but the grief makes them excessive.
    • Complicated Grief. When the normal grieving described above gets into trouble, we say that the grief has become complicated. In this case there very well may be a need for medical attention and contact with a mental health professional. When in doubt—consult or refer the person (or yourself) to a mental health
    professional, preferably one who works with complicated grief reaction.
    Danger signals include: suicidal or homicidal talk or ideation, alcohol or drug abuse, prolonged physical complaints, excessive, long lasting problems at home or at work, noticeable prolonged changes in behavior—especially sleep and appetite disturbances, fear and panic responses, violent behavior or threats,
    excessive hyperactivity, extreme or inappropriate social behavior or withdrawal from the world. Remember: To be safe, a referral to medical and/or mental health providers should be made if the above danger signals are happening.
    Principle Three: There is no universal timetable for the grief journey.
    “How long will it take?” Answer: As long as it takes. Too often, we deny ourselves and others deny us permission to have a grief journey that will result in the healthiest healing and reclaiming of a life. Many believe that after a year of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones on the calendar, that we should be pretty much “over it.” However, most people do not travel the path to healing on someone else’s schedule. Many bereaved complain that even before a year is up, relatives and friends are urging them to “move on” with life. Life experience and surveys of mourners have shown us that people will continue with some form of grief reaction for life. Additionally, the bonds we have to a deceased loved one or some other form of loss, will continue for life. Often, people get impatient with another’s grief after a while and push them
    to be ok, stop crying and get ‘ok’ again. Too often, employees are not given sufficient time to mourn the loss generated by changes and losses in the workplace. Grief support programs yield benefits to the individuals and
    to the organization as well.
    Principle Four: Every loss is a multiple loss.
    We lose not only the body and being of our loved one but also the part of ourselves bonded in relationship to the deceased. We lose more than a person, more than a job, more than a building or even a sense of well-being. We lose the part of ourselves that had interacted with that which is no more—the deceased, the workplace environment, the routines, the joyful, carefree fun times and the hope and dreams for the future. We also are affected by the tragedy and grief of others and lose the sense that we are ok, our community, our state, our nation, or our world is ok. Such loss and grief reactions are experienced by children who bring stories of tragedy home from school, and by adults who bring such stories home from work, religious congregations, and other places in their lives.>Grief is dynamic—frequently changing its form and intensity (very painful feelings in the morning – less painful in the afternoon), and grief is complex—has many parts and sub-parts to it. What else do we lose when a loved one dies? We lose: our future, our conversations, what we did together, places we went to… the way we were. Every loss is multiple because we have many secondary losses when we lose a person or other vital part of life and also because loss ripples outwards—the way a pond does when a stone is dropped into it.
    Grief travels outward from the family to the neighborhood, and to various social locations in the community.
    Death, life-threatening diagnosis, divorce or even loss of a job will change much more of our lives than our familiar daily routines—for example: self-picture, status, financial security, career, and a family’s sense of wellbeing.
    Principle Five: Change Creates Loss Which Creates Grief (Change = Loss = Grief)
    The very fact that change is part of life means that we are constantly connecting to people, places, and things, to pictures of ourselves, routines and expectations for the continuity of our life styles. With each normal
    transitions of life we let go of one world and enter another—going from home to school, from school to workplace, single life to coupling, to childbearing, and to each of the next stages of adult life—we are faced with the potential of a grief reaction. Each time there is a change, we lose what we have left behind and begin to connect to what will be next. When the change is a death or serious illness or is unexpected, traumatic and sudden, the grief reaction may be very intense and painful. A frightening diagnosis, loss of function, of pain, of
    losing hope for recovery, can bring on a grief reaction as powerful as if there already had been a death. The many additional, associated losses, called secondary loss, pile up and build the intensity of the grief. This is what we miss because of our loss, all of the things we no longer have or can do. Principle Six: We Grieve For Old Loss While Grieving for New Loss
    As we move through the transitions of life and experience losses, we accumulate loss material. In spite of our previous grieving, some unfinished and unaccommodated grief is still left over. When a new loss occurs, the old grief mingles with the new and increases the intensity of the grief reaction. It is pretty usual for us to think about a death or severe illness that took place years ago when a loved one dies or some other significant loss or trauma occurs. The old loss will require attention and cannot be pushed aside.
    Principle Seven: We Grieve Whenever A Loss Has Occurred or When Threatened With Loss
    Initially, as infants, we attach for survival. Even infant animals cry out when separated from the mother and physically hang on to her fur “for dear life.” The need to attach and remain safe with a mother is an inborn and instinctive behavior. As we grow up and bond with others, the same “attachment for survival” provides the energy for the bond. Any loss of the bond or threat to its continuation creates fear regarding survival. We don’t need an actual death or diagnosis of serious illness to begin the grieving reaction. Any threat can invoke the grief response. An example is waiting for a loved one to come home. “They were due at 9 pm and now it is 12:30 am!” or when waiting for medical lab test results to come back. The beginning of a grief reaction will vary for each person but we can start the process well in advance of any actual loss. In the case of a serious illness, when does the grief begin? When the physician confirms the diagnosis? When the biopsy or blood test is taken? When the initial appointment is made? When some disturbing symptoms do not go away? Again, for
    most people—at different points along the time line.
    What you can do to help yourself and others:
    1. First and foremost: DON’T DO NOTHING! An intentionally grammatically incorrect statement that reminds the grieving person to: Keep busy and active with planned rest breaks and quiet times. Inactivity can let helpless despair take over. Have several non-grieving activities available to transition to after a period of grieving.
    2. Listen to how you are feeling and acknowledge this by saying out loud to yourself or to a friend exactly what you are feeling. If a friend is in need of your help, encourage them to tell you how they are feeling, what hurts, where in their body do they feel pain. Just be with them, don’t try to “fix it.” Never underestimate the value of “human presence.”
    3. Look for support groups—either ongoing or drop-in—give one a try and see if expressing your upset to
    others reduces the stress and pain for you. Examples are: Bereaved Parents of the USA, The Compassionate Friends, Hospice Support Groups, Faith Community Outreach, Funeral Home Aftercare, SEASONS, Survivors of Suicide, States Attorney’s Homicide Victim Support, MADD, Hospital Wellness Centers, and Employee Assistance programs.
    4. Try writing down how you feel in a journal or diary. Suggest this to a grieving friend.
    5. Talk to someone you trust and respect . . . loved one, friend, clergy, colleague, counselor, or health care provider.
    6. Eat properly, exercise and get sufficient rest and see a physician if upsetting physical symptoms persist.
    7. Use rituals, both religious and non-religious activities to acknowledge your loss or fear of loss: light a candle, take a moment of silence at a meal or other gathering, plant a tree, give a donation to charity, volunteer to help others.
    8. Learn and use relaxation exercises— look for commercial recordings that teach relaxation and/or provide very comforting music.
    9. Be kind to yourself—take a time-off from grieving, find productive distractions: household chores, gym workout, nature walks, retail therapy, cooking favorite meals, relaxation exercise, meditation and prayer.
    10. If can, seek solace in your own faith’s spiritual guidance.
    *Excerpted from: Jeffreys, J.S. (2011). Helping Grieving People —When tears are not enough: A Handbook for Care Providers, 2nd Edition. New York, London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.
    For more information: See: GriefCareProvider.com or contact Shep at [email protected]

    My girlfriend said that for her she felt so sad then one day it stopped and she could remember happy things.

    Am considering returing a dvd set I’d ordered on the 9th, just 3 days before the death, and arrived after the passing … 🙁 🙁 🙁

  • #213718

    ninakk
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Ntch, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • #213787

    bandicoot
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    ntch, my sincere condolences on your loss.
    there is no hurrying through grief, and the pain is extraordinary…..i echo the others in saying, be gentle/kind to yourself.

  • #213821

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    NTCH –

    I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • #213843

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @JuliaJayne: Thank you. Still very painful. How are you doing after your loss? What might I expect next?

  • #213950

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Well, we all handle things differently, and maybe the situation is different, have different beliefs, etc, but this is what happened to me. In the beginning I had a tough time with denial. I would suddenly wake up thinking there was a mistake, or that I forgot to tell the doctors something, or they missed something. That was exhausting. The rawness began to fade at some point. Then eventually I wasn’t crying as often, and so spontaneously. Now I can usually get through the day without crying so long as I don’t dwell on the loss. I try to focus the good stuff, but sometimes it makes me miss him all the more.

    Last weekend we had the internment for his ashes. That was the day before Father’s Day if you can imagine. Why my mother chose that weekend is beyond me. She invited close friends and relatives and had a luncheon following the service. It felt like a second funeral, and it was very hard.

  • #214861

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    @JuliaJayne: Oh my. That must have been doubly painful. I can see why it would feel like a second funeral and would be very hard. My condolences to you again.

    I am used to interment the day after the funeral so that it seems to be a part of the funeral service/ritual. I would hate to have to do the interment later because it, as it did for you, would feel like a second funeral with all the pain renewed – like picking off a scab that was healing and having to start the process of healing all over again.

    I am finding that when people share their own stories of loss that it seems to provide mutual help to us doing the sharing. It’s like we support one another in our shared experience of great loss.

    A friend said she was in a lot of pain and then one day it just stopped and she remembered the good things. One woman said she felt empty for the longest time. My friend who had a recent great loss says it’s hard to have to just do normal things you have to do.

    For myself, it helps if I do things. For others it’s the opposite. We all walk on our journeys in our own ways.

    Good luck to you and me, and perhaps we will one day be able to say, “Oh my, I just remembered a happy memory and smiled.”

    PS – when that moment comes I’ll post here and hope you will do the same 🙂

  • #215113

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering after the passing of a loved one

    Thank you for your kind reply, NTCH. 🙂

    The reason for postponing the internment was because the ground was frozen, so it was decided to wait for school to end because 5 of our immediate family members are either teachers or students. It seemed like a good decision at the time.

    I am doing much better. I had a similar experience as your friend. It was almost as if a switch was flipped. The only time it’s hard now is when I visit mom. It doesn’t seem possible that he’s gone when I’m in their apartment. So many memories. There is still so many of his things in the apartment. Mom has not mentioned getting rid of anything and I’m not going to push the issue.

    I hope things are getting easier for you. Be gentle with yourself and just let the feelings flow through you.

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