Chapter 5: Your grandparent’s belongings


My grandma did not have expensive things, but she had a hand mirror on her dresser that I asked my mother if I could have. I don’t need this to remember my grandma, but I love seeing it in my dresser every morning.

Every situation is unique. Your grandparent may have a spouse, partner, or children who have asked for your help in sorting through their belongings, or you may have the sole responsibility of sorting through possessions and deciding what will happen with them. Although it is true that “things are just things,” the reality is that this sorting through belongings can bring up all sorts of powerful memories and emotions. You might find taking on a task like this helps you in your grief by giving you something to focus on, or you might feel overwhelmed emotionally at the thought of doing it.

Like grief, everyone is different, and there is no “right” time to tackle this. It can be challenging if different members of the family are ready to do this at different times. You may be feeling the need to begin this process before others are ready, or you may be feeling pressure from others to begin before you feel ready. Acknowledging these differences and communicating openly with each other can help reduce the risk of misunderstandings and hard feelings.