This is likely to be a rambler. Consider yourself warned.
Recently I sold off a collection of my late Father’s. I had a kind of a hard time doing it. Then I thought about it. No that isn’t right. I kept thinking about it and managed to do nothing but give myself a stress headache. I went ahead made the decision that I’m selling it. And while I was doing that I had an epiphany. The collection, it didn’t matter. Yes my Dad liked it. Yes he invested his time and money into it. And yes, he even managed to get me a bit involved in it. (He tried with baseball too and it never really took there either – but you can’t fault the man for trying.) But in the end it was his thing not mine. Anyway the epiphany was that, the collection, it wasn’t my Dad. By getting rid of it I wasn’t getting rid of him. I don’t even think he’d be upset that I sold it off.
What I’m trying to say is things do not equal people. Even if I still owned every last thing that I sold/donated/trashed after my Dad’s death I still wouldn’t have him back. By getting rid of something that was his doesn’t mean I loved him any less.
I have my Great-Grandmother’s gold charm bracelet. I don’t remember seeing her wear it once. I know she did, I just don’t remember it (she lived until just after my 23rd birthday). You know what I remember of my Memere? Her trying to teach me to knit. Me leaving her house with a goody bag for the long trip home, with a small jar of olives in it, 🙂 the other kids liked Cracker Jacks, me it was olives. So that’s what Memere packed for me. I remember Memere telling my mother that I didn’t have to give up my seat for her, she remembered what it was like to be the youngest and that I could keep the chair. Of course I still moved, but Memere remembered what it was like to be a little girl and that we are just as important as everyone else.
My point – I love my memories more than I love “things”. Yes it’s nice to have tangible reminders of the people we love that aren’t with us anymore. But my memories keep me warm were all the collections and jewelery in the world never will.