Going Through Her Things


I recently lost my very cool, funny, super smart Aunt Lois. She was a collector of things, mainly books, but also house decor, furniture and so many clothes from the multiple sizes she went through over the years. The night before the service I went into my cousin’s garage where I was faced with an already curated, but still overwhelming, pile of things to sift through for myself. It’s a weird thing to experience, though not my first as I had to make similar decisions with my own mother’s things 11 years ago.

I was quickly reminded how much easier it is to guide my clients in the letting go process when I am not the one letting go. When it was my turn, I wanted my own helping hand and heart. But alas, there is only one of me!

I took a large pile of clothing into the bathroom (I did at least try things on!) and walked away with likely more things than I intended. I also walked away with a tin rooster, wall hangings and at that point I think I blacked out– who knows what else is in the trunk as my dad drives back to New Jersey from New Hampshire. Oh yeah, lots of books, too.

The KonMari filter really can’t be applied when in a raw emotional state. That’s why Marie Kondo smartly says not to decide on sentimental things until you are ready. It’s going to be a while for me. So if I took too much, which likely I did, I am reminding myself, as I do with my clients, that’s okay. There’s a day in the future when I can decide if I still want those things in my life. I certainly know she, just like my own mother, would not want me holding onto anything out of obligation.

Until then, my boys will love the rooster, the 70s wall hangings will find their way to our Bohemian abode in Woodstock, the clothes will be integrated into my wardrobe (not left in a bag in the closet) and the books thoughtfully placed on a shelf in Woodstock where our best recent memories together were.

While I pride myself in my empathetic approach to clients, I just got an added jolt of how hard it is to let go of things, especially when they are tied to love and loss. Hats off to those striving to live honestly, be present and self-forgive. #walkthetalk