Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Unusual Problem


Recommended Posts

My oldest brother died when he was three (before I was born) and a neighbor had a cedar chest made with his name on it for my parents. There are clothes and toys of his in it plus those of my grandfather and father. My mother has asked me and my daughter after that to take 'care' of the chest. My thoughts are how long do we have to hang on to this. I explained to her that this was HER grief and not mine and certainly not my daughters and she said just don't tell her what I am going to do with the chest. I, of course, would not do anything with it until she dies. I need some opinions or if anything like this has happened to anyone else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know there was a show on HGTV or TLC about a year ago that touched on this very matter. It was a show where they help people get rid of all their clutter and then redo the room for them so they have this huge yard sale. The one lady's dad made her promise she would keep this antique furniture in the family forever. It was not her taste, but she had promised her dad she would. They told her how unreasonable that was of her father and that if she kept it(it wasn't just a chest but a whole livingroom full of furniture) that she could actually build up resentment towards her father. They told her if she felt she had to, to keep one piece that she thought she could live with and use it. Otherwise she should get rid of it. She was very upset at first but then said she felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

Is it that you really don't like this chest or is it because it has your dead brother's name on it? If you really feel uncomfortable with it and have no use for it I would say get rid of it.

There is always the option of asking the children of the man who made it if they would like it also. They may enjoy having something their dad made.

Or can you have someone make a new area where the name is to totally change the looks of it and yet make it more to your taste.

I don't know if any of this has helped but at least you know you aren't the only one who has gone through this.

I hope you get other suggestions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


mlg had some good things for you to think about there.

But when you said,

and she said just don't tell her what I am going to do with the chest.

I thought.. what a smart woman your Mom is.

And I would do just what she told you to do if I were you; not tell her what you would do with it.

It is obvious that it is really important to her but in a way she understood your feelings too and she was literally letting you off the hook of keeping it forever by saying just not to tell her what you would do with it. So take that and run>> be grateful she understood somewhat of why you would have trouble holding on to it. (And I can understand your feelings.)

Sure there were things that I knew were very important to my parents that I simply could not hold on to once they were gone. (They never made me promise to "keep" anything.. thank goodness.) But I had to get rid of them and.. yes I had tears over some of those things. But ultimately.. once they passed I figured the "stuff" they had here would really not be important to them anymore. And they don't need them anymore.

I believe that when your Mom passes on she will be with those people whose things are in the box. It was just something important for her to hold on to til she was with them again. And maybe those things helped her process her losses and her grief. But once she has passed.... she won't need them anymore.

I'm sure you will know what to do with it once your Mom has passed. But now, I would take her at her word and just keep what you will do with it afterwards to yourself.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...


I knew someone who went through this very thing and this is what they did:

In this instance, there was a box full of mementos from her mom's first marriage that had nothing to do with my friend at all, but also had some things from an older sister that had died 11 years before she was ever born and her mom had asked her to take these things after she died and keep them "safe and sound". My friend really didn't want this, but like you was respectful and quietly agreed. When her Mom passed, she simply took the box and they made a small bonfire and gathered up as many of the ashes as they could and then scattered them on her moms grave.

Just an idea. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...