My parents have recently bought a new home and plan to move on from our family home of 30+ years within the next 12 months. I’m trying very hard not to think about what this means to me emotionally, which may or may not be a good strategy. What it does mean in the immediate future is a lot of tough decision making about what they take with them to their new home and what they don’t.
My Mum was the sole descendant from her father’s side of the family. This means that the belongings of not only her father and grandfather, but also uncles and so on was all passed on to her. Many of these things include large furniture items, but trickle down to boxes of photos that belonged to her uncle’s second wife, someone she never knew.
BP and I have spoken of sentimentality before, but this takes it to a new level. These belongings represent a whole family line, the weighty responsibility of which lies on my Mum’s shoulders. The further truth of this doesn’t escape me, either. Eventually, a long, long time into the future, the responsibility for these things will be passed on to myself or my brothers and at some stage someone has to make a decision. I’d rather Mum and I do that together.
It is of some value that this situation has arisen this year when my own mind set is changing so dramatically. I have found it much easier to accept that neither my parents or my brothers and I can hold on to this stuff forever.
On Friday Mum and I spent some time deciding which of her antique and sentimental books she should keep, which she should donate and which she should try and sell. Sometimes the decision seemed easy until we realised it was a first edition (perhaps in very bad shape, however) or turned to the first page and found the inscriptions addressed to my Mum
Happy Easter with love from Mummy and Daddy.
We tried to remain focused and managed to clear a good three shelves of books, appropriating them to a variety of piles. Of course, there was a Mama Fearse pile. All of the vintage Enid Blyton books I read as a child are going no where. I already look forward to the day I can read them to Little Fearse. Mum has kindly offered to look after them until I find a solution to the 11 month old book destroying whirlwind issue in our house. It also lets me side step the book embargo quite neatly…oops?
Yesterday we listed a large selection of the books on Ebay, a task that took a ridiculous amount of time and may yield little to no results. I think we’ve decided that we need to find a better way to get rid of books that we see as having some value – either we donate them and let the charities perhaps find a buck for them, or we find a book seller willing to take a look. I think the value we see in them is very different from their monetary value. It is a desire to see them enjoyed and cared for by someone who loves books as much as we do. Perhaps ridiculous, but that’s us.
Have you had success “getting rid” of family heirlooms? How did you come to terms with it emotionally? I’d love to hear your stores, I think they’d really help. I know many people who have had to clear whole homes and must have dealt with this issue in a variety of ways.
With a sentimental sigh,
PS I love this article on the topic.