Recently, we marked the 2 year anniversary of my Mom’s passing. She was diagnosed with liver cancer in November of 2009 and died exactly 3 months later in February of 2010. In the time that has passed, I can’t say it has gotten easier, but maybe a little less raw.
Since then, we had our first child, which would have been her first Grandson. It has been tough knowing how much she would have enjoyed watching him grow and I can honestly say that not a single day goes by that I don’t think of her and wish she was here.
It has also made me think about my job a lot, as I come across this scenario so often with my clients. They are dealing with either an illness or loss that has prevented them from keeping up with their regular routine. Often they are dealing with their own clutter or, in some cases, clutter from a loved one and the uncertainty of what to do with it.
There is nothing more difficult for some people than letting go of things either gifted or bequeathed to us from loved ones. We feel it is our duty to hold these items sacred. We feel appalled at the idea of throwing away or giving away items that were once held dear by our friends or family members that are no longer with us.
And then, as I sat in the audience when Organizing Master Peter Walsh came to visit us, he said something that resonated very deeply with me:
“No one who has loved you wants you to feel a stranglehold from the other side.”
In other words, our loved ones would never want us to feel captive to their things, as that’s not what really matters and that is honestly not where the memories of them lie. It is in our hearts and the way they treated others and what their passing has taught us.
But that also doesn’t mean that everything has got to go. Choose 5 items, 5 wonderful treasures from the person that meant a lot to you and frame or display them. If they had a favourite shirt, cut a piece from the material. If they had a favourite book, frame the cover. Do what you can to honour them in a way that brings happy and peaceful memories.
I love photos and have begun filling my house with them, as I find that is my favourite way to honour to my Mom. She was all about her family, so filling our home with not only pictures of her but our family brings me great joy. Here is one of my favourites – it was taken the day after my husband and I were married in Maui and the joy in her smile brings me peace.
For all of you out there struggling with loss, I hope you can find a way to let go of some of the things and find a way to honour your friend or family member in a beautiful and peaceful way.