35 Comments

  1. Victoria

    Christie, I can so relate to this post. And you are so right that the possessions are not the person but still getting rid of them is so hard. I guess I feel that by getting rid of the “things” I am admitting that he is never coming back.

    • It’s true Victoria. I keep reminding myself that letting go of the possessions doesn’t change anything, but putting the condo up for sale made it real that my mother has entered another phase of life and there is no going back. And then I was caught off-guard by the fresh grief over my brother. I hope you are surrounded by love this holiday season. It can be challenging when you are missing someone you love. XO

  2. Cindy

    This is so true. Hannah knows grandma has Alzheimer’s. She knows grandma is getting worse and we (her family) are struggling with this. But it wasn’t until I told her that grandma wasn’t coming home and we have to sell her condo that she got really upset and cried. The truth can be so hard. But you are absolutely right, we have to be grateful that she will always be a part of us, and that we are blessed with such a wonderful woman to call ours. ❤️

  3. Shauna

    This is such a tender time for you. We’ve had to do it and it is never easy. But, a year and a half later, Mom is well and happy. She likes where she is, they take good care of her, and we are comforted to know she is safe. Is your mom able to have her own furniture and things? When we visit Edith, her apartment has her own furniture, pictures, quilts, etc., so it feels more like home. It’s always a hard decision, but one that a lot of us have to make. Your mom is safe and I’m sure well cared for and yes, she is where your heart is, wherever that may be.

    • Tender is the perfect word for how I’m feeling, Shauna. My mom does have many photos, blankets, and other belongings with her. She is using their furniture. She does seem happy with the place and with the people there. Of course, she has lots of visitors!

  4. So sorry you’re going thru this. It’s hard to let go. I know we will go thru this when hubby’s mother passes or has to move into an assisted living home. I don’t have any possessions of my late brother who died way too young but I do have childhood memories as me and him were inseparable. Plus, I have memories of him as an adult and our weekly long distance phone calls. Stuff can never replace love and memories. Praying for you.

    • It is hard, Dee. I remind myself that I am so blessed to have the kind of relationships that are hard to let go of, and in my mother’s case, that she is close by and still in my life, just in a different way. Thank you for the kind words and the prayers.

  5. Yes Christie, it’s the not so simple truth and you are grieving the losses at this time. I feel for you and wish you and your family well as you go through this difficult time. Take care. #mlstl

  6. Very hard thing to do, but take a bit of comfort that there will be long forgotten memories that the clean out will refresh for you. Take good care of yourself and allow yourself time. #MLSTL

  7. Christie I feel for you so much. Your post brought up many memories for me of when I left our home to start my new life in a new city. The biggest reason for sadness was leaving memories of. My son and where he grew up. I’m sure this big change is difficult for your Mum too. Sending Bukit hugs over the seas to you #MLSTL Will share

    • Thank you Jennifer. Life can be sad and terrifying and also joyful and exciting. I truly was not expecting to have that reaction to giving up my brother’s room. It must have been so hard for you to move away from where your son grew up. The good news with my mother is that she is even a little closer geographically, so we can visit her often. She keeps telling us how much she enjoys her new place and the people there. She does miss her cat, who went to live with my sister.

  8. It’s wonderful that your mum and your brother both have legacies that will last for many generations to come. There are a lot of people in the world who don’t have the memories and history that your family has given you and I’m so happy you have that to hold onto.
    That being said, the clearing out and sorting and purging will be an onerous task and one that will definitely have an impact on you. Take your time, cry if you need to, and keep reminding yourself of what you so beautifully wrote in this post. xx

    • Thank you for the words of encouragement and advice, Leanne. It is a challenging time, but as you pointed out, much of the heartache comes from having had the privilege of such wonderful, loving relationships. And, of course, that’s where the joy and the strength is too. I am indeed blessed.

  9. Christie,

    Thank you for sharing your inner self and the challenges you face right now.

    I’m rethinking the whole “home is where the heart is” now. I always pictured a literal home and that is where the warmth and love is from family yet you made me realize that is not it at all. It’s my heart that is home for the love I have for family. I struggled with selling the home my kids were raised and then moving away from them as they became young adults because none of us had a home to go to. But I keep them in my heart and that is much more powerful.

    Gosh, thank you so much for sharing your private story, you’ve made a huge difference in my life and I thank you!

    Warmly,
    Allison

    • Hello Allison and welcome. Thank you for your kind words. I often write these more personal posts for my own selfish reasons, but it is heartwarming to know that this one touched you and even made a difference in your life. Thank you for taking the time to share that with me. I’m off to visit your site. Have a lovely day!

  10. I cannot imagine. Even though my mother passed in January and the house was sold in July, I didn’t pack it up. I took the things that she designated and some other sentimental items and then moved out of state. It was my brother and sister and nieces and nephews who had to do the hard part. But, selling the home was not as hard for me as it was for others. They look at is as the family homestead that they’ll never return to. I see it as a place that held wonderful memories, but as you do, I keep those memories with me and don’t designate them to a place or a thing.

    • Hello Jennifer. I think each of us processes loss a little different, but being able to release the physical things and places and hold on to the memories is, in my mind, the healthiest thing. Enjoy your memories. Happy holidays!

  11. Christie, You’re the second person that has recently said basically “home is where the heart is”. As we continue to downsize and move (once again), there will be a lot we are not going to take with us. Crazy things like my dad’s rose bush (friends gave to us when my dad died), which I’ve replanted now twice (2 house moves) but don’t think it would survive in Florida. Or some of my MIL’s knick-knacks… we just won’t have the room. Even just typing this, I’m tearing up. And my grief is no-where nearly as intense as your’s. As other’s have said, please be gentle with yourself and allow the grief.

    • Change is difficult, whether you consider it “good” or “bad” change. Any time you move on to something new, you leave something else behind. It is comforting to know that the memories go with us, even if the things don’t. Good luck to you with the big move!

  12. Hello Christie, I don’t have any advice for you at this very difficult time (sorry, it’s such a cliche but I couldn’t think of anything else), but just wanted to say that I feel for you. You’re right about ‘things’ just being things – I’ve let go of a lot of ‘sentimental’ objects, and have managed not to regret it because I know that they don’t represent the person. All the memories are inside you, as you said. Remember to take care of yourself at the same time as taking care of your beautiful mother. 🙂

    • A difficult time is an apt description, Cheryl, so no apologies necessary. I always remind others to take care of themselves, so now it’s time to practice what I preach. 🙂 I think I’m doing pretty well at that. It means a lot to me to have the encouragement and support of my blogging friends in addition to those who are physically close by. Thank you.

  13. Oh, Christie, my heart is aching with you. I can so empathize with what you are dealing with, having just been through a similar time with my parents. I am choked up as I write this.
    And, yes, though they are just “things” I found “finding new homes” for much of the family belongings very difficult because they were physical reminders of my childhood, and my past too…as well as of my dear parents.
    Still, it has to be done. Just take it one room, and one day at a time. There are professionals out there that can help with the process if you need that support.
    What you are going through is definitely a grieving process that just needs to be gone through. Normal, but sad.
    As others have said, allow yourself the grief and practice whatever self-care that helps you through it.
    Hugs.

    • Thank you for your kind words and concern, Nancy. It is indeed a challenging task and a tender time. Being surrounded by loving friends and family, including my wonderful blogging community, makes a huge difference. Thank you for the reminder that it is a process, one that I will move through one step at a time. Best wishes to you and your family!

  14. It always seems eerie to go through people’s things after they have moved or passed away. I always have a hard time getting rid of things. But you are correct–the memories are not in the things.

    • So true, Bethany. It is a strange feeling to be going through someone’s personal belongings. It also got me to thinking about someone having to go through all my stuff one day. I’m encouraged to minimize.

  15. I’m so sorry you are going through this. My parents both died in their home so I never had to deal with the issue of care giving. But I do remember going through their rooms/house and cleaning things out. Possessions aren’t people of course, but their possessions feel like a part of them and every thing you see reminds you of them…even their hand-writing. I recently was cleaning out a drawer in my house and found an old card with my father’s handwriting in it and it brought tears to my eyes. Hand-writing is so unique to an individual and when I saw it I instantly recognized it as his.

  16. Oh, my friend. I am so sorry. I have been right there, last year at Christmas, in fact, was the last time I was in this same place. So difficult to think about holidays and celebrating when your heart is heavy, and you have a full list of to-dos to tackle in the transition of your mom from the condo to the care facility. Wish I could wrap my arms around you for a hug and then roll up my sleeves to help you get things situated. Will be thinking of you and praying that your wonderful outlook can carry you through this season.

    • Thank you for those kind words, Leslie. I can almost feel your hug. Some day I hope to meet you in person and collect the real thing. 🙂 I hope all is well with you and yours and that you are enjoying the holidays!

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