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What Do I Do With All This Stuff?

Published: May 22, 2023
by Simply Cremations & Funeral Services

cremation services Calgary AB

After cremation services Calgary, AB, families of the deceased are faced with wrapping up their loved ones' lives. In practical terms, this means taking care of insurance, financial, digital, and, if they were still working, work-related matters. These are relatively easy to do when compared with figuring out what to do with the deceased's personal belongings.

What belongs to a person is part of what identifies that person. Each of us has something in our personal belongings that identifies us as us, and anyone who knows us well, including our families, knows those things are intricately woven into who we are as people and who we are to them.

For that reason, handling the personal belongings of a loved one who has died can be a very emotional activity and it can create a lot of indecision and angst.

Some people, while they're still in shock from the death, just go through and get rid of everything without thinking about it. A family member or friend should gently step in and try to prevent this because it's really a bad idea. In the fog of shock, there can be the urge to make the reality of the loved one's absence complete by removing everything that belonged to them. That's a reaction of pain and grief, but down the road, when the shock has worn off and there's no trace of that person left to savor, it's very hard to deal with.

Other people just never do anything with their loved one's personal belongings, because it's too overwhelming or emotional or because they are just unable to part with anything. This is not necessarily the best avenue to take either. First, it tends to make the surviving family member(s) live in the past, and it makes it harder to move forward in managing grief and living a decent life in spite of the loss. Second, some of those personal belongings really need to go in the trash, some of them need to be divided among family members, and some can be donated and help people who are in need have better lives.

If you're having a hard time tackling your loved one's personal belongings, enlist other family members or a couple of friends to help. Having people you trust to share this emotional experience will give you motivation and support, and it makes it easier.

Make a staging area (use a neutral room like the kitchen or living room) with four sections. One section will have boxes for trash (tape a big sign to the wall for each section). One section will have boxes for donation. One section will have boxes for distribution to families. And the fourth section will have boxes for things you want to keep.

Tackle one room at a time. Start with the bedroom, and do the closet first, dressers second, and so on. Avoid different people working in different areas because it confuses things, slows the process, and things that you want to keep will inadvertently get thrown away.

Clothing, glasses, hearing aids, medical equipment, and furniture can all be donated. Look online for organizations that take glasses and hearing aids, refurbish them, and then provide them to people who otherwise would not be able to afford them. Clothing and furniture should be donated to people who don't have to purchase them, such as organizations that support the homeless or battered women. Home health agencies often have patients who can't afford medical equipment – or their insurance doesn't cover it – so they are also appreciative of medical equipment donations.

For more guidance on what to do with personal belongings after cremation services Calgary, AB, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Simply Cremations & Funeral Services is here to assist you.