March 31st, 2012 by Jan

George Carlin did a show about stuff. I think it is brilliant.  He hits the nail on the head when he says, “My shit is stuff and your stuff is shit!”

I wish I had his take on when your shit, becomes my stuff.

Maybe I think about stuff too much, or maybe I’m sensitive after having to clear out my mothers hoard, but I don’t think I’m alone, in wondering about the stuff that belonged to a loved one who dies. What’s going to happen to it? Who’s going to get it? What exactly did they have and is it any good?

Now, I know stuff isn’t the memory, but it can trigger them. And being on the receiving end of someone’s stuff after they die, can be either a joy or a nightmare.

Going through my mom’s stuff was mostly a nightmare, but I had the opportunity to pick out some nice gems and memories as well. Not being the one who had to sort through Linda’s stuff; it was heartwarming when Frank sent me a necklace to remember her by.

Ken came home with a small box of stuff from his mom’s house. Tomi had kept his baby book and his first pair of shoes. She also kept all the letters and cards we had ever written her, but as far as stuff—stuff goes, she didn’t have a lot.

In sorting through the stuff she did have, Ken found a beautiful turquoise ring that he thought I might like. He doesn’t remember Tomi ever wearing it or know of any story that goes with it.

I love it and will think of Tomi when I wear it. I also know that when I am asked about it, I will say, this ring was in my mother-in-laws stuff.

3 thoughts on “Stuff

  1. Jenny

    A timely post for me, dear friend. I can already feel the emotional waves knocking me around as I prepare to sort through the stuff in my mother and stepfather’s home next week. The sight of those rooms, the carefully placed objects, the jammed book shelves, the kitchen drawers with their familiar contents, the ice cream scooper from my childhood. Closets full of clothes, still giving off the perfumed scent of my mother, who, though living, has not touched those items nor seen the inside of her much-loved home since 2010.

    It’s a fine line- the whole messy thing; going through the stuff of loved ones, feeling their presence, recalling memories, experiencing the surge of emotion, all in an effort to honor the need to hold on while embracing the freedom found in the letting go.

  2. Ken

    My thoughts.
    Keep small, precious (not necessarily monetarily worthy), significant things. And don’t feel guilty when you find things that were important to her, aren’t important to you. I took a couple of rings and some branding irons. How’s that for consistency?


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