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10 WAYS TO BUILD UP FAMILY AS YOU DOWNSIZE by VickiJolene Reece

Posted on September 01, 2021

Decide to be Humble and Kind  Value each person. I found it helpful to listen to “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw as my sisters and I went through our childhood home and 50 years of memories.  

Delay Demanding Downsizing  Respect that people grieve in different ways. Allow each other grace to process shock and disorientation after death. Making too many decisions is confusing and upsetting. Consider doing little for a while, unless necessary.  

Honor Your Father and Mother  Realize it’s more than “stuff.” You are looking at Collections, Gifts, Dreams, Memories, and yes, many things avoided and stuffed into drawers, attics, and basements. Lots of good intentions to be fulfilled “someday.”

Forgive Old feelings will come up. You will never feel like forgiveness. It’s a decision to release yourself from resentments. Your heart will experience peace (eventually) when you do the real emotional and spiritual work behind the physical work.

Choose Grace & Gratitude  Lift up a grateful prayer for the pleasure items gave you. Share fun or tender memories of holidays and celebrations around the dining room table before mom must sell it in order to move into Senior Living. 

Sit Down and Talk  Share and clarify expectations and desires. Really listen. Affirm what you hear. Write down the first choice of one thing that each really wants to remember the loved one. Be honest and respectful of each other. Do not rush a parent to give up something that is still in their own home. Avoid sneaking things out of the house. You are better than that. 

Bring in a Neutral Person  Diffuse divisive situations with a calm person.

Start with the Least Emotional Items  Save sentimental for last. 

Change What You Say  Instead of “getting rid of” things (which will hurt your mom when you are talking about the china she loved and “none of you kids want”) Consider saying “how can we find a new home for this? Who would be helped/blessed by this?” This works. It helps to know that cherished possessions will be appreciated by others (even if you give things to charity). And sometimes? You graciously accept the lovely things that she cherished to use in new ways. Mom’s silver sugar bowl now holds my pens. 

Laugh and Cry through the Stories Appreciate all the time, work, love and sacrifice represented in everything saved. Yes, some hoard. But most pack up treasured memories. “Mom, why did you save that old thing?” “Because it was special. You made it for me when you were five years old.”

 Feel the love.  ♥♥♥  (VickiJolene Reece) ▪

 

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