Friday, March 25, 2011

On Remembering those who pass

We all have these dreams of finding that one thing in our home that is worth thousands and we get to pay off the house and go on the vacation of a lifetime. Unfortunatly that is not what happens for most of us. Ebay and other online resources have plumeted the cash value of previously known "valuables". If you are keeping items because they might be worth something in the future I have a few suggestions for you. This comes from working through my fathers 4 bedroom 3 bath house stuffed of what he thought would be valuables. His intentions were good and I know he wanted me to have a small fortune in what he kept but that just didnt happen.

When we moved from Flower Mound, Texas to a small town outside of Pittsburgh PA I packed up my dads house and my house and brought it all with me. Because of this we eneded up moving what was equivalent of an 8 bedroom 5 bath 3 livingroom 2 kitchen 2 breakfast room 2 dining room 4 car garage and one large outdoor storage builing in one moving van (south hills movers out of Pittsburgh did an AMAZING job). I was not at the house when the moving truck unloaded. I arrived a few weeks later and I almost cried. Our 2+ car garage was literally filled to the top with boxes. Our entire basement was a sea of the same situation. The kids game room also filled and a bedroom upstairs also filled. It was paralizing.

We HAD to get rid of stuff. It just was not an option to keep it all. It took me over 2 years but now I am down to just a small box of stuff I need to go through and keep or get rid of but I have to do some special research for that special project. Learn from my mistakes and dont make them yourself!

I am assuming that the estate has been closed and all chidlren and grandchildren have been financially or physically given what they are granted in the will or even in a verbal agreement with the person who is passed. It weighed heavy on my heart to take care of this for my father as I just wanted to fulfill his last wishes that would make him happy. Please do this for your loved one and dont make it a financial fight or nightmare.

First, what is important to you. If you have lost a loved one I have found that keeping one thing that is very special to me and displaying it in a lovely way or using it in a very special way helps to preserve it and keep my sweet memories of that person precious. I also, for a few relative, have a small box for each of them of personal things I picked up. I have 3 of these boxes (two grandparents and one for my dad) its more of a timepiece and things that drove them. In my gramdmothers I have some letters from her ex-husband in the war, her ID card, a crayon box from when she was little, a little fur piece from a coat and some documents like birth, death, marriage and random general addresses and information, simple things that jess finds interesting and might give her a hint into her past.

Now that you have decided what is really important, and I know this seems backwards but, you can now have a focus.

This next step is the most important. Do not throw out a thing (excluding the trash bag in the kitchen) and call an estate sale specialist or an antique shop dealer in the area. Explain to them that someone you love has passed and you are looking to properly take care of finishing off the rest of the estate. You would like someone to come and take a look. Make sure you get someone with experience in what you have the most of (dishes or books or furniture) you never know what might bring some cash. Someone who is good at this will be more than willing to work with you. An estate sale for some may be the best option. In my dads case it was easier to sell directly to the antique dealer and they hauled it off. A good dealer will also tell you what is trash and who might or might not take the rest.

This is where I did something a little different. As the truck of my dads stuff drove off I decided something in that moment. I needed to give the rest away. The dealers had suggested selling it in a garage sale but I just didnt think it would bless people as much. I am no angel and I dont like thinking I am but I had been through enough and didnt need to linger in that moment of death any longer. It was time to move on. So I did something radical. I started contacting church and city leaders about donating items. I did this in grouped item specific stuff. So, for all the extra model cars my dad had I contacted my church mens ministry and child care. For the extra china and glass stuff I contacted my womens ministry at the church...you get the idea. I listened for those who were in need and offered what I could. In the end my heart felt so much better that I had blessed those who needed it rather than selling it for a few hundred bucks and it took less time than the set up for a garage sale.

I had some small items I did end up taking to a local good will it took me 4 trips and I was done. This all could have been taken care of much easier with an estate sale or not having to move all the items but that was not in Gods plan for my fathers passing. On occation i will find a small item that needs to be tossed, saved or given to someone special but that is few and far between. I now have my special collection of stuff from my dad and his sweet box of memories and important stuff. We look at and through them on occation and enjoy memories. I also, as stated earlier in this blog, have every picture of him ever taken downloaded and double backed up by harddrives so I know my memories will never simply dissapear in a flood fire or due to theft. If there is something that brings great memories but is just to physically large to keep then take a picture or a small peice of it to keep (knob from a drawer or a small cut of fabric). I have done this with several items and I love it. I can simply and easily take it with me in a moving truck and still have the memories of whatever that piece of furniture or what ever brought me.

As a Christian I know that my family has better things to do than worry about what and how I am selling and getting rid of things once they pass. Things are things. They do not go with you to heavan. My father is kneeling at the feet of God and dancing and rejoicing with long lost friends, it would be selfish to think he cares what I do with his stuff here on earth.

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