Spring is considered a season of renewal, which is probably where the concept of spring cleaning came from. We’re told to purge our closets, shake the cobwebs out and start over. That said, if you’ve recently lost a loved one whom you shared a home with – a partner, child, roommate, or relative – it’s not always easy to say, “out with the old, in with the new.”
Some people like to leave everything as it was when the person passed away, leaving their room or closet untouched. Others like to take their time cleaning out spaces once occupied by our loved one. Everyone mourns differently, and just because spring is coming doesn’t mean you have to rush to rid your home of these things. But if you do wish to try, here are some tips.
Find Happy Memories
While it might be hard to go through your loved one’s possessions, it can be easier if you can associate some of the items with good memories. Maybe your late husband’s fishing stuff will make you think of summer’s at the cottage, or your wife’s jewellery will remind you of your wedding day. When sorting this stuff you can decide what to treasure, what to pass on, and what to donate based on your emotional attachment to each thing.
Instead of thinking about how the person is gone, let the experience allow you to get to know them again. Relive those happy times and smile. This doesn’t have to be a sad ritual, but rather a step in the grieving process.
Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself
This is not your regular spring cleaning, so don’t treat it that way. You don’t have to force yourself to throw stuff away just because you think you should. Do what you can. It can feel like you’re slowly removing them from your life and that can cause feelings of guilt.
Remind yourself that possessions don’t equal a person. However, you need to also recognize that your feelings are valid. If you feel like it’s hard to sort through your deceased loved ones things, take a step back and catch your breath.
Don’t Set a Timeline
Instead of saying you want to fill X number of boxes by the end of the day, week, or month, just promise yourself you will try. You don’t need to put in a certain number of hours per day, or have the room cleaned out by a certain date. While it can be helpful to set goals for yourself, it won’t help your emotional state if you’re finding the process difficult and you’re afraid of failing.
If it’s hard, just try to do a little bit each day, or each weekend.
Ask for Help
If the burden is too much to bear, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to other family members, or accept help from friends and loved ones if they offer. Cleaning up and going through all the clothes, books, knick-knacks, and more is not only an emotionally trying experience, but a physically demanding one. Let someone help you to alleviate stress on your body and your mind.
Stop if it’s Too Much
If it feels too soon, it might be too soon. When your still in mourning, you have a lot of things to work through. If you feel like you need someone to talk to, reach out to a grief counsellor, or faith leader in your community for help.
The team at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home and Cremation Centre in Markham can help you celebrate the life of your loved one through a personalized funeral service or memorial. They are also there to listen when you need to grieve. Reach out today.