I spent much of today re-arranging the master bedroom to make room for a piece of exercise equipment. I’m determined to use it since it will now be right under my nose each day!
Little did I realize I would take a sentimental journey while moving furniture. One of the walk-in closets had become a repository for my childhood furniture that I also used with my now nearly-30-year-old son. I am a self-professed sentimental fool; even more so immediately after each of my parent’s deaths. I clung to these treasures that held deep memories of a wonderful childhood. Memories I did not want to lose with the loss of my parents.
As I am getting older, I am now more focused on lightening the load our home bears. Not only for us to have fewer things to clean or maneuver around, but also so that my son isn’t burdened with sorting through things and organizing an estate for sale. I carefully tucked these treasures away in a closet assuming that my son would one day want them for his children. But, he is a minimalist (and has no immediate plans for a family) and neither he nor my brother hold sentimentality for these things. So, why should I continue to hold on to this “stuff?”
Material things are not where my memories exist. They are merely the matter in which some memories were created. And yet I believe it is common that we hold on to things to help us hold on to the people who mattered to us.
We hold on because the thought of letting go is just too painful to bear.
But we all must let go at some point. To things we’ve collected and held dear as representative of our memories. To adult children who move across the country. To people who move in and out of our lives in pursuit of their own dreams. To people we loved who have struggled with chronic disease (like my Mom). And to people we loved who have had an acute health event that takes them abruptly from our lives (like my Dad and Uncle).
Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting. It doesn’t mean we stop loving these things or these people. It just means that we are re-arranging our hearts to store more memories with people still present in our lives. And I know my parents would want me to do that.
Caring Choices understands that letting go is hard to do. Talking to your family about what you’re willing to live with or without can help them when it’s time for them to let go of you.
© 2015 Caring Choices