Friday, November 08, 2013

Remains

When someone dies, there is a lot of work to do. 
There is the emotional mourning, the painful and invisible grief work, that seems to take much longer than you wish it did. And there are all the decisions to be made about dealing with the remains of a life. 
First you have to decide how to deal with the physical remains, a body or cremated ashes. These are hard decisions and become more complex when the family is a large one with varying opinions.  I think my family did an amazing job of working through these decisions when my brother died. This is the beautiful location of my brother's physical remains. A perfect decision.
But what about all the other remnants of a life...all the things that he owned, collected, saved and cherished? 
What do you do with all the "stuff"? 
You want to have enough to still feel connected to a loved one and to be able to emotionally connect with your memories. But what do you need and what do you do with all the other treasures?!

Pam had a very interesting blog post on mourning jewelry made from the hair of the deceased as a souvenir and reminder of their loved one - click here to read her post.  That is a lost art of being able to turn human hair into a treasured piece of jewelry. 


This is some of my brother's stuff that came to live with me. My brother's canning jars (he loved to garden and make soups and jam) and of course, some of his clothing. I am going to make quilts for his boys for Christmas. 
Notice that I didn't say which Christmas! First I have to be brave enough to open the bag! 

14 comments:

  1. It sounds like your family worked very well together to make some difficult decisions. I'm thankful both my in-laws have all their wishes in writing as do my parents and have elected someone to honor their wishes. Open the bag when you are ready - maybe a Christmas gift or HS graduation gift fpr the boys.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It seems like it is never over. Give yourself time and it will get easier. Hugs

    ReplyDelete
  3. Some things, particularly grieving, cannot be rushed. When the time is right you will be able to open the bag and make the quilts and they will be very precious quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a wonderful post - the grief process is some of the hardest work we'll ever do. And the "stuff" adds even more layers. You will know the it is time to make the quilts. Be gentle with yourself in the meantime.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have a box of my mothers clothes for that someday when I am ready to open it and make it into a quilt. But not today.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It all takes time. I still have some shirts from when my brother died in 2008 that I haven't even touched.:) You have to do it at your own speed.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh Sweetie! Such a hard time for you, and unfortunately it will be for a while. But you are doing it right - you're talking about him and his life and what you loved so much about him. And you're talking about your loss and grief and questions. I know it won't be too much longer before you will be able to open that bag with a smile on your face and a lovely memory in your mind of him smiling with joy as he filled those jars with love....just as you will do too. HUGS!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. A very thought-provoking post, Kathy. These are things we don't usually consider until forced to.
    We had a good friend die suddenly a couple of months ago. A week or so after the funeral I asked his widow, also a good friend, if I could make her a quilt from his shirts. She was thrilled with the idea and said she was going to go through the clothing in another week or two and she would get back to me. After a month I contacted her and she said she had finally realized that it was going to be too painful to go through the clothing that soon--maybe after Christmas. Take your time. When it is doable, you will know.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You will know when the time is right, the boys will love the quilts made using their fathers clothing......I did that for my sister when her husband passed. When she was ready to give up some of his clothing, I made the quilt and she holds it close....she loves it and is comforted by it

    It will be a gift to them from you and your brother

    ReplyDelete
  10. I agree, there is a lot of work associated with grief...tough work. I hug you through it!! I have tons of my brothers clothes to someday put into a quilt to...someday!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I still haven't done anything with my father's ties and dress shirts. They are still in the box, and he died 4 years ago. Wait until you are ready.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's that you saved something that reminded you of treasured memories of your brother's life.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thought provoking post! You must have been very close to your brother to pick the things you did. I am sure your nephews will be ever so grateful to have a quilt made from his clothing. Time heals and someday you will feel ready.

    ReplyDelete
  14. ((hugs)) I'm sure when you do work through the bag, that it will be a healing task in your personal journey of grief.

    ReplyDelete