Chapter 6: Your parent’s belongings


I’ve been there
Lynn talks about feeling her father's presence.(3:22)Video transcript

Sorting through my dad’s stuff was hard. I sometimes felt absolute delight and joy when finding a photo or letter that I had never seen before. Other times I felt a surge of longing – some things just made the pain more acute.

Your parent’s belongings may be part of multiple family histories. Your parent may have a houseful of belongings or a few special mementos that are important to them. You could be deeply attached to some items, not interested in “things,” or somewhere in between.

It’s important to remember that if your parent had a will, some or all decisions about belongings might have been made.

Depending on the situation, decisions may need to happen quickly because:

  • Health facility or rental policies set time limits
  • A home needs to be sold
  • You, or others, live elsewhere

If you do have time, you might choose to make decisions more gradually. You, and others, may feel differently about things as time goes by. You might also find great comfort in keeping things as they are.