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Dismantling a person's worldly life after their death

(20 Posts)
orangeandlemons Sun 23-Dec-12 20:53:50

Yes it is awful. I have my grandma and grandad's birth certificates plus my unmarried aunt and uncle's. I even have my aunt's premium bond book. All from my darling mum,s stuff when I cleared her house out. I even have a box of photos of people I don't know. I just can't bear to throw them out. A life time of stuff to end up in charity shops

I think the same in charity shops now. Once someone's treasured possession and now in a junk shop. It makes me cry, all those matching grandma tea services

mumofthemonsters808 Sun 23-Dec-12 20:46:22

I have done this several times and on each occassion it has been heartbreaking and left me feeling very down.No matter how rich or poor we are this is what it comes down to.

I did my Aunties and then my parents shortly after their death and it did give me a sense of closure.I have kept so many items that are worth nothing to nobody but me i.e. scraps of paper with their writing on,ornaments that I remember from my childhood,sometimes I look at them and smile other times I weep.

beckyboo232 Sun 23-Dec-12 20:36:58

I went through my nans wardrobe and found at the back in boxes every card, letter, scribbled note to say I'd put the laundry on....that I'd ever written her. I can't bear to throw them away. They and practically everything else is in storage.

fuckwittery Sun 23-Dec-12 20:28:40

A shopping list made me catch my breath when I was clearing out my mum's house, I haven't thrown it out yet.

Tigerbomb Sat 22-Dec-12 13:49:38

I had to do this with my DexH's belongings early this year. I found it heartbreaking. His paperwork made me cry as I could see the doodles he'd drawn over some of them. I still can't throw them away. It took me twice as long as it should have because there were so many memories involved with a lot of items . I have kept these items because they keep him near to me - if that makes sense.

I have kept some clothes of his, just because the smell of him on them brings me a small amount of comfort (and a lot of tears).

Huge hugs for you

Take your time, do bits and bobs when you are able to deal with it and know that he enjoyed them in life and that's important

Sunnywithachanceofjinglebells Sat 22-Dec-12 13:10:48

Big hugs to you OP.

I helped my friend's parents clear her flat after she died.

I've kept a couple of bits but the rest is in storage - 7 years later - as her dad can't bear to get rid of it.

happyinherts Sat 22-Dec-12 13:08:42

To me this was far far worse than the funeral

My 99 year old nan lived alone independently up until a week before she passed away in hospital.

She was the centre of a large family and treasured every squiggle on paper, birthday, christmas card, communication from grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. Bearing in mind eldest grandson was 55 and youngest child in family 2 this was a lot of possessions, deeply deeply treasured. I put it in the recycle bin three times and retrieved it three times in tears. Disposed of in a moment - accumulated over half a century didnt' seem right.

Furniture, clothing and linens all went to grateful causes but it was these personal things that was the worst. People who have not experienced this really have no idea of the turmoil involved. It really is a life changing experience and does really make you think. Very very sad

misdee Sat 22-Dec-12 12:58:26

Books, I love books. This charity takes books and gives them away for free.

Be kind to yourself OP

fortyplus Sat 22-Dec-12 12:50:55

It's better that you're doing this after his death than if he'd had to go into a home. We rented out my grandad's house when he went into one - he had to live in one room so very little in the way of personal possessions. Not surprisingly he chose to take photos for his walls and his photo albums. Your dad lives on in your hearts and photos make a lovely keepsake. All the rest really is just stuff and doesn't matter smile

Bunbaker Sat 22-Dec-12 12:41:59

"Things really, really don't matter in life. Its people who matter"

I so agree with that. Both my parents were hoarders and it took my sister and me a long time to get through all the clutter after they died. The charity shops did very well from us. I found out some things about my parents that I didn't know and some things I wish I hadn't discovered, but that was over 20 years ago now.

Going through belongings isn't easy, but at the same time quite cathartic I think.

ssd Sat 22-Dec-12 12:31:28

hi op, I know exactly what you mean. My mum died recently and it was up to me to clear out her flat. It was heartbreaking. I gave some stuff to cash for clothes and some to charity and some to friends and my cousin. It was awful putting things she and my dad had for years into bags and giving it away.

I kept some stuff and I go through it and smell it now and then, like her clothes and scarves, just to feel a bit closer to her.

When ever I go into charity shops now and see little tea sets and trinkets and odds and ends I think "there's something cleared out from a dead persons house they probably treasured for years, and its lying on a shelf in Oxfam". Morbid but thats how I see things now.

feel for you, op x

specialsubject Sun 16-Dec-12 17:29:03

my thought is that you said he loved books - so he got a lot of pleasure from that collection. We only get one chance at this life and if he had things he loved (and people like you who loved him too) then that is pretty good from where I'm sitting.

'stuff' doesn't matter after death; but if it gives fun in life, that's the point.

if there is a national trust property near you with a second hand bookshop (many do now) they will happily take the whole lot. They'll go to a good cause and stay out of the landfill.

wishing you better times.

TheFarSide Sat 15-Dec-12 14:33:01

On the other hand, it can be very helpful for the bereaved to have things that remind them of the person who died.

Going through my mum's papers was very painful, but a really important opportunity for me to immerse myself in the grief for a while.

Now that she's been gone for over a year it's not so raw and I feel ready to look at her possessions and wallow in some happy memories ... unfortunately though, my dad has thrown everything away!

TheFarSide Sat 15-Dec-12 14:29:40

house is still full of crap though

TheFarSide Sat 15-Dec-12 14:29:05

You are not alone. Bereavement is a real antidote to materialism. I spent the first 40 odd years of my life acquiring things then my mother's death brought it home to me that relationships are more valuable than possessions. I have now started slowly getting rid of stuff.

EIizaDay Sat 15-Dec-12 14:23:47

What a poignant and melancholic post. I'm sure this has touched a lot of us and it has certainly made me feel sad and sorry.

kiwigirl42 Sat 15-Dec-12 11:55:42

It makes me think that it is pointless having stuff as it will mean someone else throwing it all away in X number of years

so, so agree. I had to clear my darling Dad's cluttered house after he died and its heartbreaking.
Things really, really don't matter in life. Its people who matter

Good luck with the rest of the clearance.

parsnipcake Sat 15-Dec-12 11:22:40

I totally understand. It made me declutter massively as I was so upset by the thought of my children having to do what I did when my mum died. She died last year and I still have lots of her stuff around, gradually I give it away, mainly to charity. I sold some bits on eBay, but it was so weird that a lifetimes possessions ended up being worth a few pounds - not that the money was important, it just made me feel less like buying stuff. Cancelling stuff is hard - I still have various charity things going as it feels bad to cancel them, even though they aren't things I particularly feel anything for.

blondiedollface Sat 15-Dec-12 11:00:56

What books does he have - please donate them instead - I collect old books found in stalls/car boots/oxfam etc or if near enough I'll pick them up! Honestly just find the people who appreciate these old treasures and will look after them!!

charlieandlola Sat 15-Dec-12 10:59:14

My dad died in 2010 and I am still struggling with it. I do not miss him as he was in his Final years but am finding it hard dismantling his life. , taking his name off cheque books, cancelling club memberships, giving away his clothes, selling his stuff, just obliterating him physically.
He loved books, had thousands, and I can't find anyone who wants them, so will end up recycling the lot in the paper bin.
It makes me think that it is pointless having stuff as it will mean someone else throwing it all away in X number of years.

Am I on my own ?

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