We all have them, the mementos from days gone by that remind us of a time where things were different. Perhaps it’s the high school yearbook collection, the trophies from baseball championships or the wedding dress. Our basements, closets and garages become storage areas for things we will never use again, and yet, we keep them because of what they once represented to us.
When we work with clients who are decluttering and organizing, downsizing to prepare for a move, or who are closing out a loved one’s estate, we often find that much of the time is spent on reminiscing and reliving very special memories.
“I remember when Mom used to wear this sweater. She always looked so good in it.”
“Oh look. It’s Peter’s first Mother’s Day card that he made for me in junior kindergarten.”
“Dad always loved fishing. These rods remind me so much of when he took us out to the lake.”
The joy and tears that come from going through years of memorabilia and possessions can take us down a road that keeps us stuck in the past. It’s ok to go back and remember. It’s also ok to move forward knowing that today, and the future, are what matter most.
So how can we begin to let go so that we can move forward? Here are some suggestions:
1. Know that the item itself represents a memory and that memory is to be cherished, not the item. The item is not what has the most value. The memory does. Cherish the memory while you let go of the item.
2. The object itself is a piece of your history but the person or experience that it represents is the key connection. The connection to your loved one will always remain. It will not go away when you let go of the items. Your connection to each other is forever.
3. Death and separation do not end a relationship. That relationship has changed but it is never over. Holding onto an object will not keep the relationship alive because it never ended in the first place. It’s transformed and it will continue to grow even through this time of change.
4. In letting go of an item to move forward either by donating it or giving it away, you are allowing that item another chance. You are not ending something by giving away the item. Instead, you are allowing the item another chance to be used by someone who will love and appreciate it.
5. There are often new memories to be created with the memories that you cherish today. Remember that as you share your memories with your family and loved ones, you create a new way to bond together while creating new memories which allows the legacy live on. Keep sharing your stories and the memories, and let your love and gratitude for your loved one move forward.
It’s never easy to let go of items that have such sentimental value with deep and important memories. But you can let them go of the items while honouring your love, your history and the experiences you cherish. This allows you to move forward in gratitude, peace and love.
If you need help, we are here. We are professionals. Every member of our team has lived through devastating losses and challenging times and we understand what you are going through. We will never pressure you to let go of something you don’t want to part with, and we will always be there for you as you move through the process of letting go to move forward. We are here to help!