Can't throw away my parents' things-family members pressuring me to do so

Discussion in 'Finding it Difficult to Move Foward' started by jadesgrief, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. jadesgrief

    jadesgrief New Member

    Hi. I was recommended to this site on a Reddit forum, and I have been trying to find some type of outlet to share my story of loss for awhile.

    For background, I lost my dad three years ago, and then lost my mom about two months ago due to a horrific battle of Crohn's Disease. My mom really struggled over the loss of my dad, and I did too, but she was more broken than I was. She didn't have an outlet to go to, and I think it made her really depressed and alone. Her family was thousands of miles away, and even though she had a pretty good relationship with my dad's side, she felt left out in some events. That happened before my dad passed, so it was not new, but you would think that can reunite family and cause some deep reflection. It did not do much unfortunately, but we relied on each other so we didn't really need extra support.

    My mom has a hard thing of letting go things. She is no way a hoarder, but her mother would throw away so many things like photographs and toys. She felt the need to hold onto certain things, like sometimes keeping stuff from my elementary days. But it was not a problem where every corner is full of stuff. So, when we went through my dad's stuff, we got rid of a lot. Like 85% was gone. We even had a quilt made of his special shirts. But the other percentage of clothing and stuff just was put into the back of our minds, mainly because it did not clutter the house and was no big deal.

    The day that my mom died, her mom sorted through her clothes without my permission. She had nothing better to do than to go through her daughter's clothes. It made me upset and angry. She also did this when my dad died and pissed off my mom. But I guess that is her way to grieve. I don't know. I did remove around 50% of her stuff a week after she died though. I had this energy to go through some of her stuff.

    Anyway, I went to my mom's hometown for two months. I was surrounded by family, and it was great. I felt like I need some rehabilitation after a traumatic few months. I really enjoyed it. I could breathe. I reduced my intake of sugary drinks and fast food. A health cleanse. I stayed with my aunt, and she offered very good advice from finances to cooking different recipes. I deeply appreciate her wisdom. But towards the end, she gave me this list of to-dos for when I come back home. One important thing she wanted me to do is to go through my parent's things to donate or sell. I was like okay, maybe that will help me to stay busy and move on or whatever. I took it in.

    When I came back, I just fell in this long well of depression. I slept most of the day, didn't eat much, and could not get motivated for the life of me. I did not want to do anything. I get a text from my aunt a few days after I arrived back home, asking if I have gone through my parents' stuff like she asked. I lied and said yes. I feel like some of my family members just plainly don't understand that there is no due date for certain things. It is not like I am moving in the next month or so. I am trying to cope that she is gone. Her laughter and her affectionate and bubbly personality is gone. I am not ready to throw away the shirts she constantly wore, or the shirts my dad would wear because I know my mom was not fully ready to throw all of it away. I am already keeping a lot of her clothing, since we wore the same size, but I am not ready to let go most of it still. I kind of don't want her clothing to be transformed in a quilt or something like I did with my dad's. I don't know. I feel so much pressure from family to do certain things and I don't want to take it all in. I am exhausted.
    KateIsNotOkay likes this.
  2. KateIsNotOkay

    KateIsNotOkay Member

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my parents in the past 4 months and have my sister left, and we have to decide what to do with their house and possessions now, but I'm not ready. I don't think either of us are. I relate to what you said about not wanting to have your mom's clothes made into a quilt. I am just trying to preserve the smells on the clothes of each of them. I even wrapped the pillow my dad was sleeping on the last week of his life in a bag as well as his blanket. I'm feeling the depression and lethargy you described, and I don't know the way out. I think it would be worse to have family members telling me what I can and can't do. It's hard to handle the business of closing the estate and paying the bills that are left. I'm just mentally, physically and spiritually drained. I don't have any advice, but I'm listening and have a shared experience. Praying for you, and have your hand.
  3. Ceee

    Ceee Active Member

    HUGS to both of you. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in letting go of physical things. My father took care of most of my mothers things when she passed. He gave away most of her clothing - after asking what I would like. He kept her more personal things. When he passed it fell to me to clean out his house. I gave away most of his clothes to people I knew could use them. I kept all their paper work and pictures. Most of dads tools etc went on an auction and I was ok with that. I had to clear out the house to rent it so brought furniture, art work, kitchen and other things to my house -now I see that was not a good idea. At the time I was divorced and living alone so just added it all into my house.
    Moving forward, I married again and he came into my house with all of his household and personal items - now the crowding begins. It gets even better - we were both very active and involved in work and volunteer organizations and both of those created things that added to our clutter ( have to admit it now reached the clutter stage) I am a crafter and he was a model railroader - we were both very involved in scouting and all of this created a lot of "stuff" that we kept. Moving on we moved and were able to let go of some things but most of it came with us and started filling up the new house. We continued to be involved in activities and collected more "things".
    One of my biggest collecting challenges is my interest and research into the family genealogy and my love of old family pictures. including - those from my parents and grandparents, his pictures and ones from his family. then add my children and grandchildren pictures and the ones of him and I and our activities - you can see where this is going.
    We were too busy living to worry about sorting through the past as long as we had the room for it we were not bothered.
    Now he is gone and all of this rests on my shoulders and it is HEAVY. I am having a very hard time letting go of things.
    I did give a lot of his clothing to a homeless center where I knew it could be used. I tried to give his personal and family items to his nephew - who really didn't want any of it - but I packed up a load and gave it to him any way
    I still have a lot to go but physical problems are making things difficult
    HUGS to all
    (I did write a longer message but about 1/2 of it disappeared)
    KateIsNotOkay likes this.
  4. Ceee

    Ceee Active Member

    I'm replying to this old post with a positive comment. Yes i still have a lot of things to sort through and find homes for, Recently my son and dil came for a "working" visit. They were relentless but we did manage to go through a lot and separate the important and loved things and find home for others. They did take a lot of the things to their new homes but left a few for me. My husband was a model railroader and had a major collection. My son is taking most of the collection but a few things he did not want. This week i contacted a model railroad group and a gentleman was interested and came and picked up the things. There were 2 very large framed prints that he was excited about and said they would hang in the new museum they are building. I am sure this is making my guy happy as it did me to find a home where they would be appreciated.
    (I am alone most of the time and just needed to share)
    HUGs to all
    Rose69 likes this.