Deciding what to do with your child’s belongings
At some point, you will want to consider what to do with your child’s personal belongings. However, it may be months, or even years, before you feel ready to make decisions about these possessions and all the memories that are attached to them. Do what is right for you and at the time that is right for you.
Whatever you do with your child’s belongings, be prepared for them to hold very strong emotions. Your child’s precious belongings may bring you comfort and happy memories. However, being surrounded by these items every day could be small and painful reminders of your child’s absence. Be careful that they don’t just end up triggering your intense feelings of loss and pain. It’s normal to feel sadness associated with your child’s things but this needs to be balanced with positive associations.
It’s also important that you don’t hold on to them for the wrong reasons. You have to give yourself permission to let some things go – it doesn’t mean you are letting go of your child.
Simon, dad of Hannah
We moved house 11 months after Hannah died as her absence within the house was more pronounced and it felt too empty – whilst it was painful packing up her things, at least we were packing the rest of the house up as well. Most of it is still packed up in the new house, not sure if it’s that we haven’t had time to go through it or don’t wish to, but we don’t feel there is any hurry
When you are ready to let go of things, you might want to recruit people to help sort through your child’s belongings, be it friends or family members. These might be people who are good at organising, or who you feel can help you to make important decisions.
Items can be left where they are, stored away safely or given away to people or charity shops. You may like to ask siblings, grandparents and close friends if they would like something to remember your child. Perhaps your child asked you to do something specific with their things.
You might also like to read...
Learning to live without your child
How grief changes over time and the issues it raises in your life.Read more about Learning to live without your child
Things bereaved parents will always find hard
Situations that can take you back to your grief, no matter how much time has passed.Read more about Things bereaved parents will always find hard
What family and friends can do to support a grieving parent
A guide to supporting bereaved parents, how you can help and the things people get wrong.Read more about What family and friends can do to support a grieving parent