37 Comments

  1. Ashley Carrell

    You are amazing mama!

    1. I would like to get my finances under control in 2020 so I don’t feel like I’m drowning in debt.

    2. My love language is food haha. I like to make sure my loved ones are fed and I love cooking with the kiddos, and Panos even told me he knew I loved him when I started sharing my food with him. 🙂

    3. I’m mixed on holding onto things, but when I left Trav, and ultimately the house which held all my belongings, I learned that things are just things and I actually felt somewhat liberated without so much stuff.

    On a side note, I will gladly take any coffee mugs you no longer want to hold on to! 😉

    • Thank you daughter. You’re pretty amazing yourself. I love your answers, especially #3. That’s a hard lesson to learn, but such a life-changing one. Don’t be surprised if I show up on your doorstep with a box of coffee mugs! 🙂

  2. Christie, I wrote a tribute to my husband last Father’s Day and posted it on FB. It did sort of read like an obituary, but it was my way of publicly acknowledging what he means to our family. My MIL writes a love letter to our daughter each Christmas with words of praise and encouragement. She treasures those.

    As to the de-cluttering, we are currently in the middle of garage cleanup. Eighteen years worth of stuff to dispose of. We both sort out our closets annually, but my ‘craft closet’ is a nightmare and it is anyone’s guess as to what is stored beneath my bathroom sink! Thanks for the reminder that kindness to our heirs comes in many forms.

    • Hello Suzanne. I love that your family writes letters to each other. It’s good to put your feelings into words that can be saved and read over and over again. I hadn’t specifically thought of decluttering as a kindness until now, but it really is. That perspective adds a whole new dimension to a sometimes arduous task.

  3. Cindy

    I’m pretty good at getting rid of things, which sometimes drives my husband crazy. He’s more likely to save everything forever, just in case someone might need it some day. However I do hold onto notes and cards that have a special message or note in them. I still have letters mom wrote me when I was a child.

    My love language is often literally “language”. I like to spend time doing things together and tell those I love how I feel about them. When my kids were young I often wrote them love letters. I should do that more often now that they’re adults. I like to bake for people too. I love you seester!❤️

    • Ah, yes, Cindy the deleter! 🙂 As challenging as cleaning up Mom’s place was, I sure loved spending the time with you and the family. Baking is a delightful love language, and I am always happy to be on the receiving end of that. XOXO

  4. I think a living eulogy is a great idea! Would be an awesome way to let others know what you think about them as they won’t be able to hear all the good stuff you have to say at the funeral…or will they? Decluttering all of our stuff and collections that we don’t want to pass down or burden our survivors with is an excellent idea and I’ve been thinking about the same thing for a while now. Hubby’s mother lives in a 3 story house that is overflowing with tons of stuff that he and his brother will have to sort thru when she’s gone. She hasn’t even taken care of her final arrangements, says her boys can do that when the time comes. I’m still thinking about you Christie and praying for you to be able to get thru this difficult time ♥

    • I like to think that my mother was present for all the love and admiration that was expressed on the day of her service, but one thing I’m certain of is we shouldn’t save all those expressions until our loved ones have left this earth. I feel for your husband and his brother. I am grateful that both of my parents had their final arrangements taken care of. I certainly appreciate your prayers and kind words Dee.

  5. We did a sort of a living eulogy for my dad when he turned 80 in 2018. I put together a “this is your life” album and we ran through it at his birthday. I’ll do the same for Mum when she turns 80 in 2022. Going through your mother’s things would have been bittersweet. The Swedish have a word “dostadning” which is about gradually getting rid of your stuff. The idea is to minimise the amount of clutter that you leave behind for others to deal with some day. According to the idea of dostadning (try saying that ten times in a row) your treasures will be a burden to someone else someday. Sending virtual hugs and support your way. #MLSTL

    • That’s a beautiful thing you did for your father, Joanne. I bet he just loved it. I like the idea of dostadning (though I have no idea of how to pronounce it–even once). Thank you for the hugs and support. It really does help.

  6. Sending you virtual hugs and support during this difficult time, Christie. We did a celebration and sort of living eulogy for my parents a their milestone birthdays last summer. They have the same birth month. I’ve been gradually getting rid of my stuff and have stopped acquiring new stuff unless it’s a necessary replacement so my family won’t have much to deal with some day. #MLSTL

    • That’s wonderful Natalie. I bet your parents loved that. For the past couple of years, I have been trying to slowly decrease my belongings as well. If I bring anything new into the house (other than consumables like groceries), I donate or dispose of at least one thing. Slowly but surely…

  7. Hi Christie, my Saturday Sisters and I were only discussing eulogies last week as one of my SS’s lost her father just after Christmas. We discussed the fact that we wax lyrical about people when they have gone but neglect to tell them how we feel when we are alive. I’m a great giver of lover, support by checking in regularly with my family and friends, telling them how I feel about them and also suprising them with small useful gifts. It makes me feel good to give and make others feel good. I’ve also experienced decluttering my MIL’s home after she moved to aged care and that taught me not to hang onto things that I don’t need. I’m not sure yet what I want to achieve in 2020 except for finding contentment and not worrying about the small stuff. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post at #MLSTL and I’m sending you love and hugs at this time. xx

    • Hello Sue. It makes me happy to hear that we were thinking along the same lines…telling people now how much they mean to us. I am not surprised to hear that you check in regularly with your loved one and surprise them with small gifts. That same love and concern comes through in your online communication. Finding contentment in small things is an excellent goal for 2020. I wish you much peace and contentment.XO

  8. My mother did a great job of clearing out a lot of stuff while she was alive. She “assigned” to us what we would get when she passed so we all knew and there wouldn’t be any fighting. She also started sorting out those things that she saved over the years. For instance, she saved all of the cards that she received when each of her children was born and then one year, gifted each of us with our bundle. It was fun and sweet to read through all these cards and birth announcements. As for decluttering, it’s been a 3 year trip for us since we’ve moved three time in 3 years. Two of those times within a 3 month period and yet, I still feel like we can reduce or recycle more!

    • That is wonderful what your mother did for you–such an act of kindness and love. It is pretty amazing the amount of stuff we collect over a lifetime. Moving three times is one way to sift through it all! 🙂

  9. I would love to go through my belongings and get rid of unnecessary paper work, clothing I no longer wear, things I just put away instead of throw away. Maybe if I take it one room at a time I can get it done throughout the year. Thanks for a great read! Visiting from MSLP

    • It’s strange, but I actually feel emotionally lighter when I’ve decluttered an area. And I agree, it’s best to go through one room or one closet at a time. Otherwise, it can be overwhelming. Good luck to you!

  10. My MIL had a 6 bedroom house with every bedroom and every closet filled with stuff. It took me (I was the lead in organizing it) 6 months to sort it out enough to even have the siblings look through things for keepsakes. My hubby has the same hoarding gene (as do most of his siblings) and it scares me. I regularly sort and eliminate (donate/toss) my stuff. Downsizing 2+ years ago helped…. and our next move will be another one that will mean sorting and eliminating stuff. I keep telling hubby he needs to get rid of things…. maybe it will get through this next time.

    Hubby insisted on a 50th BD party, even though he dislikes big gatherings, because he called it his “wake that I attend”. I’ve never really done a written eulogy for anyone, so not sure how to approach that writing task. I’ll be looking forward to seeing the one you publish here.

    BTW, my primary love language is “time spent”. You would think it should be words, given my love of writing!

    • Oh my, Pat, you are a saint taking that one on! We kept saying at least she lives in a one-level condo and not a three-story house. My husband is something of a hoarder too. We frequently have the same discussion about sorting through things and getting rid of stuff. On another note, I think spending time with someone is a beautiful love language, perhaps the most important when coupled with your undivided attention. Good luck with the upcoming move!

  11. I agree with you Christie, we need to write these things down before it gets too late. I often think we should think ahead like this but it’s often taken as being too sad or negative. I enjoy reading your posts about your mum! Shared for #mlstl

    • Sometimes looking ahead does feel sad. I know I’ve been thinking about my own eventual demise more than usual since my mother passed and I find myself at the top of the generational tree, so to speak. When I write the eulogy for a living loved one, I will think of it more in line with what you would do for a graduation, retirement, or anniversary to lighten it up. When it comes to decluttering, it helps to realize that getting rid of material things allows me to live lighter and more free in the moment, so you could also think of it less as preparing to be gone and more as unencumbering yourself for today. If I catch myself looking at each day as another day closer to the end of this life, I stop and reverse myself, so that I consciously think of today as a gift, an added bonus to all the life I’ve already lived. Not sure if that makes sense, but it works for me. 🙂

  12. Sifting through my clutter and stuff is one of my most ambitious goals for the year. My parents moved from a 6 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom apartment around 2001, then we moved them from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 2 bedroom apartment in a retirement community 10 years later. My mom had started that move but then attempted suicide and we kids were left scrambling to determine what would be moved and what wouldn’t without her input. And my dad was just not able to think about it all. Eight years later we moved my mom from a 2 bedroom apartment to a single room efficiency. Even with all of those major moves, there were still boxes of stuff that we didn’t know what to do with.
    I agree, I love everything my parents treasured and kept. But I don’t think my children are as sentimental as I am or as they were. So I need to get busy ’round here.

    I would like to know more about the eulogy idea. While I like the thought of telling those I love how much they mean to me, most of them would uncomfortable with me doing so unless I could give them something written that they could read privately. Maybe knowing the love language of the people I am wanting to eulogize and then eulogizing them in a way that is most meaningful to them? For example, PC doesn’t like compliments or praise, or not as much as quality time with those he loves. Could I eulogize him with time spent together? Something to ponder!!

    • That must have been so difficult moving your parents with the added stress of your mother’s attempted suicide. My heart goes out to you, even all these years later, just thinking about it. As far as the boxes of stuff, isn’t it amazing how much survives even multiple moves! It looks like you and I are on track for another common goal–sifting through our stuff.

      Depending on who I ultimately write my eulogy for, I may read it to them or just send it to them to read in private. You are so right that if it is to be a gift for someone, it needs to fit their love language, not necessarily yours. I do think quality time with someone–giving them your full attention, perhaps doing the things they love to do–is a wonderful gift. Perhaps you can sneak in a few “hidden” compliments. 🙂

  13. Hi Christie, Once again you and your writing shines. Visiting you at #MLSTL and love the question about what’s your love language. Mine is blogging, cooking healthful food for family and friends, smiling and giving genuine compliments, sending thank you notes, and keeping quiet when it’s appropriate as someone finds their own solutions.

    • Thank you for those kind words, Nancy. What a wonderful love language you have — so many ways to show people you care. I especially love the idea of remaining quiet as expressing love. Have a beautiful week!

  14. I am in full agreement of both your to-do and to-don’t! When I was clearing out my parent’s home after they both passed away, I found all sorts of old letters and notes that I – and to a lesser extent, my two brothers – had given them over the years. Even though I told both of my parents that I loved them plenty of times, those written words were something they could hold on to and cherish.

    I have been focused on getting rid of stuff for a while now, but I’m hoping to kick it into high gear in 2020. No plans to move, just for the joy of living with less clutter.

    • Hello Pat. My parents divorced when I was young. We lived with my mother and went long periods without seeing my father (until I was an adult and we reconnected). When he passed, and my sister and I cleaned out his apartment, we found photo books and notes from when we were small. It touched me that he had kept these through several moves. It told me that he did think of us and love us, even though he was absent from our lives. More recently, when we were cleaning out my mother’s condo, I found a handwritten letter from 1959 to my mother from her father when she learned she was pregnant with her first child, and her response back to him, telling him what a wonderful father he was and apologizing for being a rebellious teenager. These must have been cherished by mom and now will be by me.

  15. Hi Christie,
    Interestingly enough, I just finished reading another blogger’s post on “the best obit” ever. It was tender, touching, hilariously funny in spots…it was clear the author knew this person well with all her strengths and weaknesses as well. Someone else commented about writing one’s own obit…how would you like to be remembered? And using that self-authored obit as a guide for how to live one’s life. Interesting.
    I totally understand about having to go through all the “stuff” left from a life well lived – as you know I recently had to do this with my parents’ belongings. It was a task – difficulty, onerous, emotional, and time-consuming. In the end, very little survived the “cut” – lovely furniture went to consignment (dated styles that the kids didn’t want and our own households were full)along with most of the household belonging. Most everything they held onto as valuable had very little real monetary value anymore. :(. And, out of that experience, like you, Dan and I vowed NOT to do that to our kids.
    Another TO DO which my parents had done, was to make their final wishes very clear in the form of wills as well as personal letters describing particular items and funeral requests (or in their case,, request for NO funeral.) #MLSTL

    • Yes, Nancy I read the best obit blog post as well. It’s funny how the Universe seems to bring you things to support what you are going through or thinking about–or perhaps we are just more aware. Either way, I enjoyed that blog post immensely. I suggested writing your own eulogy–that may have been the comment you were referring to. 🙂 Our experience cleaning out my mother’s condo was much like yours. We kept very little. And my mother was also quite clear on her final wishes for a funeral and what to do with her ashes. That was helpful and comforting. Good luck on your decluttering project. I’ve got a ways to go still!

  16. Christie, Firstly, you can talk about your Mom as long as you want. No time line. We all relate on some level.

    You are very right on the eulogy for the living. I recently attended a memorial for a younger member of the family who had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I sure wish he would have heard all the words spoken about him in the living years.

    The heaps of stuff is scary because I worry I may fall under that category. I continually try to purge, although things accumulate again.

    Huge hugs to you and your family, Christie.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Erica. It is so important to express our love and appreciation in words as well as actions. You never know when one small thing can make a huge difference for someone. I’m sorry to hear of your loss. It’s never easy, and when it’s a young person, that adds a layer of complexity to the grief. As far as the decluttering, I’m in a similar situation to you. Although, I do believe overall, I have less stuff now than a couple of years ago. Progress, not perfection, huh?

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