My aunt and uncle were in town after the funeral of my maternal grandmother, Ila Campbell. My mom had limited time to clean out her house. They decided to strike while the iron was hot since my uncle was only in town one night.
The night of her funeral was a time where all her children and grandchildren were together.
This is a normal thing for so many families and very typical. However, if I allow myself to revisit this evening for very long it makes me cry all these years later. It started off very calmly but there were so many of us in the very small home. Before long people were rushing out to their vehicles with armfuls of things. People were sticking their names on bigger ticket items like the washer and dryer.
This was not out of hate or spite and everyone was doing what they were instructed to do.
I don’t blame my family for my reaction to this. They were trying to do their very best with the situation and time restraint. I passed through the commotion of my family and numbly went to the basement. Everybody seemed to forget about that area for time being.
This was where my dad found me. I was standing and crying between some shelves loaded with her extra toiletries and kitchen equipment.
We had just buried my Grandma that day. The combination of watching her house get dismantled that evening was hard for me to take. My dad firmly said, ‘I know this is hard but if you want any of your grandmother’s things you’re going to have to participate. This is happening right here, right now.’
I wiped away tears and looked up at one of the shelves where my grandma’s punchbowl was sitting.
I took it down off the shelf and placed the matching glass cups inside. Then I walked it out to my car. I returned back into the house to find my mom, daughter and some cousins in Grandma’s bedroom. I was never allowed to be in this room growing up. They were all going through her costume jewelry. I picked up a necklace that I thought was beautiful and asked if anybody wanted. It was soon strung it around my neck.
Looking back I wish I would have been prepared for what happened that night.
I’m sure many of you can relate to cleaning out a loved one’s home, dresser, or box of important documents. It is overwhelming and definitely a struggle when there’s so many objects, papers and mementos to go through. Some of it looks really important and you have no idea why. How do we know what is significant or who should get a particular item.
When a loved one passes the job of sorting it all out lies on the family left behind. it would have been so nice to have a binder to help lead us toeach important object in her house.
It was through this experience that I created my Personal Heritage Document. I scanned the internet for examples and this is the best combination I found for me. The process does not have to be hard or complicated and you can take your time.
I have attached a free Personal Heritage Document for you to use that will give you peace of mind.
The conversations have been pretty amazing when we go over my binder. It tells the story of the objects that take up residence in my home. Document and catalog the items in your home and navigate your own history.
This will come in handy later down the road. your family and friends will definitely benefit from its purpose and design.
What is a special treasure in your home that you are ready to document the history of? Can’t wait to hear about it!