Trying to work through the death of a loved one is difficult for most of us. Some share their grief with like-minded people, others suffer in silence, and there are those who wonder how they will continue. Not everyone deals with grief the same way, but in the end, everyone reaches the road that leads to healing. Once we have reached the point where we can speak about a lost love without shedding tears, we are well on our way.
Nevertheless, how far on the road of recovery should one be before attempting to sort through your loved one’s keepsakes? Some say it is therapeutic and others say it only opens wounds. Moreover, how do you decide what to keep? If you really loved them, it is very hard to discard their property, especially items that still have their smell or handwriting.
When my father died, we left everything as-is for a couple of months, then one day Mom and I decided it was time to sort through his things. When I opened the cupboard, the smell of Jade East aftershave wafted through the room, and although at the time I pretty much worked through my grief and was able to speak about him without crying, that smell was too much for me. I remember closing my eyes and it was as if my father were standing in front of me. It was a nostalgic moment, but when I opened my eyes reality came back and I bawled. It was different; it was not as painful as it was in the beginning.
We sat on the bed going through his stuff and when I look back, we were really a sight, with snot and tears running and Mom insisting on hugging everything and recalling when and where my father bought it. I remember the last thing on the list was a shoebox, in which Grandma put all Dad’s personal items. Mom opened it and tipped the contents onto the bed before she carefully went through the items. His wedding band, watch, and a set of four false teeth with five gold splits were among the items.
She looked at me smiled and asked, “Should I have this made into a necklace?” I laughed, because although it belonged to my father, wearing his dentures around my neck just would not seem right, and neither would keeping them either. It was not something I could or would want to show my kids one day and tell them it belonged to their grandfather.
The thing is, at one point we have to decide what is important to keep, whether it has sentimental value or not, and store it in a box like the one Sharona found belonging to her departed husband in Jason’s Heart, Secrets and Lies, a novel by Kong Pub. As for my father’s dentures, I have no idea what Mom did with them, but I trust that she did not have a necklace made.