Monday, 25 April 2016

Who will want my stuff? (#2)

In this community, the topic of “who will want my things?” comes up frequently. Frankly, this issue arises when you have children too, as I wrote here, quoting my friend who implored people not to foist their possessions on descendants who might not share the same tastes or interests.

Still, we shouldn’t assume no-one will want our things. As we went through my mother’s treasured possessions, her three daughters divided up the possessions between us, finding that we each had memories of particular things, and that these were almost always different. We asked the granddaughters who were there to choose anything in particular they would like (and we chose for the absent granddaughter), and although initially they said there was nothing they wanted, they each found one or two things that they wanted to have, to remember their grandmother by. My cousin was there too, and she took items too, either for herself because she loved the items or the memories associated with them, or for the children of our other cousins. It was nice to think of these things – from my mother’s life but also from our grandmother and great-grandmother - being part of all their lives.

It surprised me in the end how little there was that was unwanted, to dispose of to the second-hand dealer, and although sending these possessions off was initially sad, I realised that I am happy to think that a stranger might pick up a piece that I remember from my childhood, fall in love with it, and take it home, ready to make new memories around it.

12 comments:

  1. I love keeping items from people to remember them by. Josh's grandmother gave us her cake plate while she was still alive so we could use it with her and then after she was gone.

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  2. It's funny....some of the things that I treasure the most from my grandmother and that I hope to inherit once my parents pass(hopefully not for quite some time!) are of very little monetary value. But the memories, those are priceless.

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  3. My grandmother had a special mug and plants that came to me after she was gone. I cleaned out my mother's apartment and some items I took were functional but others were sentimental, like family photos.

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    1. Oh yes, I forgot to mention photographs. My niece wanted a large wedding photo of my parents but I also wanted it. I was going to scam it for her and frame it, and she shrugged, then said with a wicked grin, "it's okay. I'll get it in 30 years or so!!"

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  4. It's funny how much we stress about possessions. On the one hand, there are items I treasure that I hope future generations will too. The flip is there are people who acquire things with a particular receipent in mind and then that person has no interest.

    I love how your whole family found mementos, but also the idea that an item could find a new home. That significance is different for everyone. And that it's a reminder to have faith that all will find its place, even when the future is uncertain.

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  5. I have my late grandmother's spatula that I still use on a near daily basis (she's been gone for 15 years). I think it's a great way to keep those we miss close to our hearts. I love the thought that strangers may have adopted the few things that made their way to Goodwill, and they might be the focus for new memories.

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  6. Almost everything I have from loved ones who have died is of very little monetary value - such as my grandmother's Jean Plaidy novels. It's the memories.

    I love the idea of items finding new homes and making new memories.

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  7. This is so beautiful. Both the things that were taken by family members, and the idea of complete strangers finding joy in things that were once your mother's. My grandmother starting giving her stuff away when she moved into her assisted living apartment, and the things I have around my house make me so happy. Some books from her time as an English teacher, her old pot of coral rouge, a bud vase etched with fuschia blooms, and two envelopes full of her writings, which were my favorites. I like the idea of giving things away when I can still see the joy they'll bring to the person who takes them, but I won't be sad if things go to strangers who will love them and make those new memories with them. Such a beautiful post.

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  8. I love the scene you set out here, with you and your family members being connected by the stuff rather than divided by it, as sometimes happens.

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  9. My mother didn't have many monetarily valuable things. My sister wanted her hairbrush. Ironically, while smoking certainly must have contributed to her demise, the smell of the smoke was still on her coat for years which actually gave me comfort because that's what she always smelled like. I also love little notes in people's hand writings. Even if the note said: "Buy milk" it's still such a nice personal reminder of them.

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  10. My mother didn't have many monetarily valuable things. My sister wanted her hairbrush. Ironically, while smoking certainly must have contributed to her demise, the smell of the smoke was still on her coat for years which actually gave me comfort because that's what she always smelled like. I also love little notes in people's hand writings. Even if the note said: "Buy milk" it's still such a nice personal reminder of them.

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