I was very close to my mother-in-law. My husband and I would take her with us on many outings. If we were going to the wholesale club or the movies or just out and about. We would go by my in-law's home. George, my husband, would ask Vionne, his mom, if she is really to go. Vionne would have a big smile and tell her husband, Elbert that she was going with us. He would always ask when would she be back and where was she going. She answered, "I don't know. They are driving." George would tell his dad that we would be back before morning.
Elbert seldom went with us unless it was a holiday or a celebration. In the summer, if Elbert went with us, he would be distracted by his earphones filled with the Royals baseball game's play by play. Every now and then he would shout out the scores. We would smile because none of us cared about the scores when we were out. My husband is a dyed in the wool Cardinals fan.
So back to moving on. Vionne passed away just over 3 years ago. This year we have been cleaning and sorting her treasures because Elbert moved to the VA home. This weekend we packed and moved the last of the treasures. As I touched each one, I remembered the stories. I thought about who needs to know the stories and do I need to write them down. I reached out to my husband's family to see who will be the next keeper of the stories. I have not heard back.
So my friends and family have been giving me advise and I want to share it with you. I hope my readers will share their stories about moving on too! So please write if you want to help some one else.
This is what I have learned so far:
1. This is hard. Take your time. You will give, throw away or sell things that you will wish you did not. You need to be ok with that too!
2. Other people will think that the treasures are junk. Broken dolls and toys may have meaning for you, but other people may see them just a junk.
3. The property is really just things. Yes, you may want to keep it all but do you have room for it? Can you take care of it? The most important part is the memories right?
4. Being sad and upset is normal. Some people just want to get everything disposed of in any manner possible.
5. Find the joy in the moments. I can hear my mother in law laughing at this or that thing. I am doing my best to hold on to that part.
The hardest part is don't be shocked by how people behave. I believed that my husband and his brother were close enough to weather this storm, but it has proved hard for their relationship.
I am writing the stories down for the family. Who knows maybe I will publish, even self publish, the stories. Don't we all want our loved ones to live on forever. It is the age old tale. We all want to make a mark on the world for the short time we are here.
You may need to talk to more than just your family and friends. There are growing support groups.
The last part is spell out what you want to happen to your treasures before something happens to you. Be kind to your family. Estate planning is the gift that you give to your family.