I am new to this group.  My son took his own life Nov. 26, 2010.

 

This may sound like an odd thing to ask, but I've not been able to go through his things and disperse them or sell them, or whatever.

 

How long or when do most people do this?  Would it help me to do it?

 

I've tried going through clothing, etc. and have put some in bags (which are now heaped on the floor) and I find myself hanging up clothes that I can't part with.

 

Am I being unrealistic?

 

Melanie

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Melanie, I hope the site helps you in some way!! You are not being unrealistic at all!! The right time to do it is when you are comfortable and ready! This is a personal decision only you can make!

For me, I had to do it a few months after because I had to leave my home! She shot herself in her room and I found her (she was 15). I just could not bare to live there any longer. I did keep a lot of her things though. I chose to do it with her friends and my other daughter, we shared stories about her and laughed and cried together. I shared some of her things with them. It helped having them there, and remembering the good and funny times!!

I have been lucky because her friends have stayed in touch with me! They help me through the rough times and I love remembering her through their memories! It has been 12 yrs. now since her death on 8/9/99. Losing a child is so hard, and worse yet when it is by their own hand! I can definitely feel your pain , having felt it myself!! I am here if there is anything I can help you with, even to just listen. I know the 1st anniversary can be very rough. Please find someone to spend it with to help you. Remember the good times and talk about how you feel. Getting it out in the open helps lessen the pain a little. You are not alone!! 

Melanie, I feel your pain.  Call it fortunate or unfortunate, I did not need to do this task in the way you have too. My Marlene was 43 and she had a will (which she shared with me several months before she took her life).  She had a friend as executor because obviously mothers are not supposed to outlive there children and her sister lives 700 miles in anther state.  The executor became a total witch with a "B" and hardly even let us get clothing for the burial.  We were not allowed in her house to even just sit and say our good byes to her.  And when I asked for the sweaters to make quilts and pillows for loved ones, it became a fiasco and they claimed "everything had to be sold".  I lost it and said "well are you going to hang her panties on a line on the front porch with a sign 2 for a $1...I was told I was being unreasonable and if the other beneficiaries agreed, I could  have all of her clothing.  So a few weeks later, that is what I got....all of  her clothing.  I gave some of her tops to her niece and I am able to wear some of her shoes and a couple of shirts.  It makes me feel close to her.  My granddaughter wears some of the shirts and she said she didn't want to wash them because she can smell Marlene.  And that is how I felt about some of the shirts and sweatpants that I kept.  Then I took all of her sweaters and made pillows for her good friends and we put a picture of her and Robert in the middle of the pillows.  All of her friends who got them were all appreciative because the executor did not offer anything to Marlene's friends.  The rest of the things I gave to her church which said they would be collected and sent to the needing but not in the area.  I might add that the executor wanted to "give them to the local shelter" but since we are from small town areas, I protested saying I "did not want to see Marlene walking down the street""  I just didn't want strangers have her clothes.  As for length of time that you "should" keep them???? It is your choice.  I have a niece who took her life at 16 in 1986.  She was living with a foster family and that foster mom still has not even cleaned out her room.  She says she can't even go in there.  She had a double "wammy" because her son was killed in a plane crash about 3 months before Amy too her life.  One of Marlene's friends made her a quilt out of all of Robert's clothes and it was so meaningful.  Diane my other daughter "stole" that out of the house before anyone knew it.  Bad? maybe but we have the quilt.  Perhaps if you have some friend(s) that sew, they would be willing to do that for you.  If you don't have any friends who sew, perhaps I could help you out and you could UPS me some of his favorite shirts/or other items and I could make a quilt out of them for you.  Think about something like that.  When my late husband died (of natural causes) my sister rushed me into getting rid of his clothes.  I had days that I wished I had kept something to just hold in my arms that was his.  So there is not set standard for this very emotional chore...

my son was married and he left his wife and was staying with us (dad and mom) we were at work and he shot his self on the side of the garuage he brought all of his clothing and a box of important papers i couldnt give up his shoes or clothing for about a year we couldnt stay at the house anymore all i could hear was him crying for me and my husband could hear him pulling the triger so january of 2011 we got up and left our house or 32 years lost everything. so take your time it took me 2years before i was able to give away his clothes but i still have all of his coats.

Hello Melanie; hang in there dear.  Your feelings of grief are still fresh.  You cannot sort it all out as to what is going on, so just rest in the Lord and let Him guide you as to what to do.  Take your time.  Eventually you will figure out what to do with his belongings as to what to give away and what to keep.  I am a victim of suicide, but that grew old after 30 years, so I can truly say that I am a victim/survivor of suicide.  I was 15 years old when I witnessed my father commit suicide.  So at that time I was a victim.  Now at the age of 59, I am a survivor because I value life.  My father gave me a reason to live.  So take your time dear and keep a journal with you to record your conversations with God and others and most of all your feelings.  Read, read, read God's promises and about His Love.  He will tell you what and how to do, just trust Him.  It will be a year for you eventually, and usually that first year can be a hard one.  But make sure you are around people who love you and want to share with you.  Don't let anyone talk down to you or make you feel bad.  Get into a grief support group and see how that will work for you.  I'm not saying it will make everything go away but it will give you something to grasp on to.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.  Peace I leave with you Melanie.  You are a sweet and loving person.  Take care and hope to hear from you.
Karen - What a beautiful idea of making a quilt!  I also thank you for your kind offer.  I have a friend that quilts, she lives in another state, and I don't know if it would be too hard for her.  She knew my Michael since he was a little boy....but I will talk to her about it.

Karen Campbell said:
Melanie, I feel your pain.  Call it fortunate or unfortunate, I did not need to do this task in
the way you have too. My Marlene was 43 and she had a will (which she shared with me several months before she took her life).  She had a friend as executor because obviously mothers are not supposed to outlive there children and her sister lives 700 miles in anther state.  The executor became a total witch with a "B" and hardly even let us get clothing for the burial.  We were not allowed in her house to even just sit and say our good byes to her.  And when I asked for the sweaters to make quilts and pillows for loved ones, it became a fiasco and they claimed "everything had to be sold".  I lost it and said "well are you going to hang her panties on a line on the front porch with a sign 2 for a $1...I was told I was being unreasonable and if the other beneficiaries agreed, I could  have all of her clothing.  So a few weeks later, that is what I got....all of  her clothing.  I gave some of her tops to her niece and I am able to wear some of her shoes and a couple of shirts.  It makes me feel close to her.  My granddaughter wears some of the shirts and she said she didn't want to wash them because she can smell Marlene.  And that is how I felt about some of the shirts and sweatpants that I kept.  Then I took all of her sweaters and made pillows for her good friends and we put a picture of her and Robert in the middle of the pillows.  All of her friends who got them were all appreciative because the executor did not offer anything to Marlene's friends.  The rest of the things I gave to her church which said they would be collected and sent to the needing but not in the area.  I might add that the executor wanted to "give them to the local shelter" but since we are from small town areas, I protested saying I "did not want to see Marlene walking down the street""  I just didn't want strangers have her clothes.  As for length of time that you "should" keep them???? It is your choice.  I have a niece who took her life at 16 in 1986.  She was living with a foster family and that foster mom still has not even cleaned out her room.  She says she can't even go in there.  She had a double "wammy" because her son was killed in a plane crash about 3 months before Amy too her life.  One of Marlene's friends made her a quilt out of all of Robert's clothes and it was so meaningful.  Diane my other daughter "stole" that out of the house before anyone knew it.  Bad? maybe but we have the quilt.  Perhaps if you have some friend(s) that sew, they would be willing to do that for you.  If you don't have any friends who sew, perhaps I could help you out and you could UPS me some of his favorite shirts/or other items and I could make a quilt out of them for you.  Think about something like that.  When my late husband died (of natural causes) my sister rushed me into getting rid of his clothes.  I had days that I wished I had kept something to just hold in my arms that was his.  So there is not set standard for this very emotional chore...

Thank you all for your responses.  I appreciate them deeply and may I add that I am so sorry for the loss of all of your children and Dianne, your father .  Your words of encouragement touch my heart.

 

May we all hold our grief lightly in our hand......our love is inviolate....it cannot be broken. (I've held on to this saying with what is left of my strength.)

 

 

I also wanted to thank everyone for their very thoughtful and helpful sharing on this question of handling the belongings our loved ones left behind, which is an issue everyone faces after a death. Your answers are also a reminder of the very important principle that grieving is different for different people, so each of us needs to be able to determine what is best for us individually. There is no right or wrong "way" to grieve, and sharing our stories with one another helps us think through the decisions we are trying to make.
Melanie,  It took me 5years to finally go thru my 20yr old sons things after he passed. A wise person told me that I should doit when the time is right for you. And only you will know when that time is. Until then don't allow any one pressure you to do it sooner, you'll regret it. Liz
The simple answer is No, you are not being unrealistic. You are the only one who can decide when it is time. Just let your heart guide you. It helped me to donate Kim's clothes and know that someone will put them to good use. Of course, I kept certain things that I wanted to remember her wearing. Be kind to yourself. What is right for others might not be right for you. Avis is right. When you decide it is time, don't try to do it alone. It helps to share the process with someone and to share some of their memories.

Hugs and warm thoughts for you. ~ Jo
Hi Ladies,

I haven't responded to any posts for a week or so but I've been reading them when they pop up in my in box. You are all amazing!!!! Th strength, compassion, sincere caring and love that I recognize in each of your characters is really something incredible. You have all been through soooo much pain and suffering, yet you are willing to put yourselves out there to help others. You are all a tribute to how people should be and treat each other.

You've each been called to bear a cross that no one should ever have to bear. You have all been through the refiners fire and have or are emerging as beautiful pearls!!!

Just want you to know you are loved! By God, Jesus Christ and your loved ones who chose to leave. from all NDE experiences I've read about, they say the person's spirit is much more aware once on the other side of the veil. Once we all realize that the spirit world isn't that far away we can continue building our relationships with those that have departed the physical realm. Prayer and the faith, that we will all be together again after this life, is our lifeline. God's promise of eternal life is true. We may all have a few issues we'll have to work on after this life but eternity is a long time to catch up. God's promise is that he saves all the workmanship of His hands and as His children, we know He loves us the most of all of his creations. Thank goodness for MERCY!

Bless you all with continued peace and healing, You are all angels, keep the faith. Onward ever onward as we glory in our kIng. keep your eyes on the Lord and one day you will be given all the answers you seek. He will make all things beautiful in His time.

God Bless,

Margo

No one can tell you when or what to part with. Some will try to tell you to pack it all up and ship it out to the goodwill. It is best for you to do what your instincts tell you is right for you. 11 yrs after my beloveds suicide I still have (have not washed) the shirt I was wearing the last time he hugged me. His father only now parted with his baby booties. When he told me I about lossed it!

 

People wanna help but what they do not understand is it is like they are trying to tell you to forget about that person and move on. We never really move on from something like this! Time helps, but scars like this never heal. I thought I had accepted his death, but it took me 11 yrs to really deal with it. Everyone must deal with suicide in their own way.

 

 

Thank you all for your comments and support.  There are only 4 things I have given away and those were momentos to a few of his friends that would mean something to them.  The rest I have and can't seem to part with.  Of course, I have given some of his things to his sister, but I don't consider that counts as getting rid of them.

 

I'll start going through some of his things and end up sitting in the middle of the pile crying.  Weird, I know, but I'll pick up clothes and smell each and every one of them.  I still sleep on his pillow and wear some of his clothes.  I feel like I have him wrapped around me.

 

People shy away from me because they don't want to upset me.  What a lonely feeling that is!  And then I've had others contact me and want to buy his things.  THAT upsets me!  He had some really good mechanic equipment and racing equipment.  These are people that didn't have anything to do with him while he was alive and NOW they want to have his things?  It tears me up inside because I have to hold it all in and, for lack of better words, keep my mouth shut and "play nice."

 

I struggle alot! So many feelings and past history to try and work through. Why is the first thing I said to my son when I was allowed to see him that night, was, "I forgive you for breaking your promise to me," but I am having such a difficult time forgiving those that "pushed" him over the edge?  I know in my heart I have to forgive, and Lord knows I'm trying but deep down I know I haven't succeeded.

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