Home Forums Challenges Sentimental Clutter Grief and Sentimental Clutter-A Very Dangerous Thing

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Jacquie 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #234559


    As a former devoted follower of Unclutterer (even before there was a forum, remember?), I found great help and support here. My own clutter problem was pretty much under control and I am aspiring to be a minimalist.
    Until 4 weeks ago. On November 30 my brother was killed in an auto accident. Now I am just awash in conflicting emotions. There are no other siblings to share my grief. My DH is trying to help, but we’re both just reeling. My 80 year old mom is still here, not in great health, still living in her own home about an hour away from me. She has hoarding issues, but her current reaction is purging. She says she wants nothing of his because she has her own stuff to deal with. I’ve been down this road of extremes with her before, so while I am trying to encourage her to let go, I just cannot invest too much confidence it will be a permanent solution.
    My immediate problem is deciding what I can/ should keep. While he never married nor had any children, the situation is complicated with a not so friendly live-in girlfriend. I don’t know if I would like to walk through the home. (It is 5 hours away from here, so a not just a drop-in thing) He had a bit of a hoarding issue, as well and I know there would be tons of sentimental items everywhere, including some he inherited from my dad over 20 years ago. I guess it would be possible to never set foot in the place, but another part of me thinks I need to do this for closure. I don’t want to regret either missing the opportunity to allow my grown children to have a memento from their only uncle, but I don’t want to open up a hornet’s nest in my own home of items that would be full of painful memories. Help! Has anyone found a balance in this type situation?

  • #234567


    Hello paperdog,

    I am sorry to read you are going through difficult times.

    When I read your comment, I had one thought on my mind: If the live-in girlfriend still lives in the house, contact her.
    Make an appointment, drive there, stay in an inn over night. Take your time.

    I had moments where I did not drive/go “there” and I carried them with me for years and still carry them with me.
    What I am trying to say: you will probably feel discomfort when you walk through the house, maybe even pick one thing to bring to your home.
    If you don’t go there, your thoughts will circle around the “what if I had” for years. This is my impression, having read your comment.

    Yes, it is about closure.

    Just yesterday I kept a printed piece of paper my father designed for Christmas. A gift token. For the days when my father will not be with us any longer. My DH thought this is weird. Now that my parents grow old and older, I want to keep tiny bits of them, bits that brought joy to my life.
    I wish you luck that you find such tiny pieces of joy on your trip, in case you decide go there.

    best wishes,
    Paula from Vienna, Austria

  • #234580


    You have all my sympathy.

    One thing you haven’t said is whether the not too friendly live-in girlfriend going to let you take anything. I can see that you feel the need to go, but it would be even more traumatic if you got there to find that she either won’t let you in, or have things which are valuable to you for sentimental reasons, or even worse she might have already disposed of things as they were valueless to her. Unfortunately possession is nine points of the law.

    Take care of yourself at this time, and look after your DH, he sounds a star.

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