CZVS Schauerman photo croppedFollowing my mother’s death last spring, I was blessed with inheriting quite a few lovely items. This presented me with a mini dilemma. Here I am trying to prune my home of extra possessions but I want to honor the memory of my mother. By including some of her household items in my decor I am reminded of her presence. Following are 5 insights that evolved as I tried to decide what to keep and what to give away:

  1. Honoring a loved one: Eventually I came to peace with the realization that my mother did not reside in these physical items. They are reminders of her but the real honor is holding her memory in my heart, remembering her twinkling eyes, and her love of crossword puzzles.
  2. Visual reminders. Still, seeing a special piece of furniture reminds me of her and her good taste. Thus I kept 2 lovely chairs and tables which replaced raggedy chairs and worn tables that had “un-graced” our home for awhile. (See end of Finding Good Homes #4) This felt good because it was consistent with my “one in-one out” criterion.
  3. Saving for posterity. Personally I don’t do silver (too much hassle to keep clean). However, my mother had some nice silver pieces and I knew my daughter would like them. I’m saving a few pieces for her until she returns to live in the USA.
  4. Passing stuff on. I didn’t need more sheets, towels, blankets, and clothes so these were easy decisions to pass on to our local Catholic Worker House and Mary Magdalene Center (a place for homeless people to get showers and clothes). (See Challenge #4)
  5. Click to enlarge

    Click to enlarge

    Too good for Goodwill. I don’t like the idea that poor people should not have nice or fancy things. That seems judgmental and classist. Still, my mom had 14 pairs of elegant fine leather gloves, a Pieta sculpture from Rome, and some fireplace irons. I don’t need any of these things but it seemed like they would also not be very useful to people who frequent thrift stores. (I also frequent thrift stores but wouldn’t be looking for these items either.) In the past I’ve taken these kinds of articles to an upscale consignment shop (Legacies) in Cincinnati. Proceeds go to a local cancer support community. Before I could get to Legacies, however, I found more personal homes for:

    • The Pieta sculpture – A group of Marianist volunteers had just come to town to work in low income schools. They accepted the sculpture as a focal point for prayer in their common home.Days 365+107 fireplace irons
    • Fireplace irons – A repair person was in our home today. On a whim I asked if he had a fireplace? Would he like the irons? Yes. Success.

The gloves (many of them never worn) I’ll take to Legacies.

How do you honor your deceased loved ones?
What do you do with inherited items besides just adding them to your household?