January 16, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, life after loss, normal? | 6 Comments
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Quote - things

Very often “get rid of clutter” is at the top of my to do list.  Okay, sometimes I put it at the top of Evan’s to do list.  I am overwhelmed by the piles of paper, toys, laundry, and stuff in general which seems to fill up the world.  However, there is some clutter that I just cannot part with.   The hospital bracelets from Jake’s tiny ankles, the smallest “sunglasses” which covered his sensitive eyes, every little thing that touched his body came home with us.

Sawyer had a lot more stuff.  Right after he died we packed up, donated or got rid of most of the things he never wore or used.  The things he did wear and use stayed on a shelf.  Year after year Sawyer’s stuff did not move.  Except for the sock.

I recently went on a business trip and when I got home Sawyer’s stuff was not on the shelf.  I backed out of the room and went in again.  It was still not there.  I yelled for Evan.  He calmly explained that he moved it.  Just like that.  He moved it to the same place where Jake’s stuff is kept.

Logically, I know that it is all just stuff but these are the only things that we will ever have that were Jake’s and Sawyer’s.  I thought about these things as I threw out garbage bag after garbage bag of stuff as I helped to clean out my grandfather’s home.  Why did I find it so easy, even therapeutic, to throw away his things?

I decided that my lifetime of memories with my grandfather made all the material things not necessary.   I do not need stuff to remember him.

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On the other hand, I had such a short time with Jake and Sawyer.  There are not so many memories or stories to tell.  So, I will hold onto the stuff that I can.

Sawyer and Evan


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  1. Beautiful post Lanie.

  2. Such amazing pictures. The stuff in your heart will always be the good stuff.

  3. Not just stuff, or clutter. I understand absolutely.

  4. I loved the photos of your family with your grandfather. Thank you, Laine. As for Jake and Sawyer, you will have memories of the memories – not as good as you may wish but still memories. My ove to the four of you.

  5. I understand completely. I have 23 years of my son’s stuff in my house. In fact, almost everything we own (especially the piano in the living room) is connected with my son. Almost all of it is still where he left it 34 weeks ago. I struggle with the idea of putting together a chest of the most precious mementos (which I will give to his sister someday, and how do I even select which ones to include). But then my heart rebels that a life can be packed into a box.

    So, I do nothing. Perhaps someday, I’ll finally decide what to do with everything. Right now, each little thing provides a connection to him (even though I actually don’t go in his room because it breaks my heart). Yes, none of these material things are our children, but they are a link that we can touch.

  6. I think everyone will understand. And yes–there is something just much more natural and acceptable about a wonderful man who lived a great 100 years of life, as opposed to the unacceptable loss of a baby/child.

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