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This is the first time I have written about the loss of my mom. She died this summer. She did have some heart problems, but I had no idea just how bad it was. I am now asking myself, how come I didn't see it and spend more time with her. We lived continents apart, and so it was not easy to get together, and we only talked about once a week, sometimes less. I am her only child. I went on a trip to see her, to spend a couple of quality weeks together, laughing and sharing some good stories, going to our favorite places... but when I got there, she wasn't well, and we went straight to the hospital. She stayed in and was on IV and was given blood, and I spent just a couple hours with her at the hospital, then went to her place and slept there. I didn't want to bother her, because I wanted her to get well soon and to rest, so that we would have time to catch up and really do something when she came home. But we only had 4 days. On day 5 she underwent treatment that she had had before, and was not supposed to be life-threatening. But she didn't make it, and everyone was in shock, even at the hospital. I went to see her and there was a stranger in her bed. I was all alone. She was only 61. She had given her life to make life better for others - she was a nurse, and she did much much more than just her duties as a nurse. She was the most humane and selfless person with the biggest heart I've ever known. I'm 30 and I miss her very much.

Now I am facing emptying her apartment, and I am afraid of it - how can I throw out all those things that were once so full of our life? But they are just things. If someone has gone through this, can you please share your experience? What might I expect as I sort through the stuff and decide what (minimum) to keep and what to let go? I know to expect the unexpected...

Thank you,


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Hello Kathy,

Welcome to the forum. I feel for you in regards to your loss. I lost my Mum in August, and I still feel as I did then. Numb. I have been dealing with other things on top of that, but that is not the case here. I am in my mother's house now and am faced with emptying it out. Horrible thing to do since it feels like I am 'dismantling' my mother herself. It is a ridiculous notion, but I have found that it is part of the process. It has to be done though. I have found some interesting things in the file cabinets such as old telegraphs she sent to my father, and her birth certificate from overseas. My Mom had a few more years than yours, but it doesn't make it easier to deal with. However, no matter how old one's Mom gets, does not make her any less your Mom as when you were a little girl yourself. Being a nurse, she has been a source of inspiration to you. It was her expression of love and care that you carry within you. It is an ongoing process. You need to take your time on the items. If you need to talk, vent, or express, we are listening. Take care, and God Bless.

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hi Kathy,

I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom, there really are no words of comfort for this, sorry really does seem to be the only thing one can say.

Like you I lost my Dad suddenly, it was all routine, he was due home the day he left this world and everyone at the hospital was also in shock .....doctor has to actually be told by someone else eventually to stop CPR as I stood there clinging to my Dad's hand. It doesn't make sense at all, there was a lifetime left in him, we had a lifetime of things left to do. I am only 35 and feel so so cheated out of so much.

I am sorry you have the added trauma now of cleaning out her apartment. I live at home with my Mom so didn't have too much to do. Although yes, we ....well, more like my Mom did clean out a lot of paper work etc months back. It wasn't easy, in fact I went through so much of it myself after she threw it in recycle bin, there were things like cards, old resumes with his writing on it ...these were the tiny things I wanted to keep.....who knows if I will ever be able to look at them again but at least I have them.

It was only last week my Mom went through his wardrobe to donate his clothes, this really really got to me, I got into such a panic, his clothes have his scent, there are the one physical thing left in this world I can hold, I can touch. Of course yeah there are only clothes, they are only things but when they belong to the one person you can no longer physically touch, for me I want to hold onto these things. My Mom had gone through everything without me, it wasn't a nice scene when I found out. It was last weekend I had to donate them but before I did I went through them all again and took out so many more shirts. I held onto shirts, jumpers and ties.

There are websites where people make memory bears, memory quilts and so on from loved ones clothing ....this is something I really want to get done eventually.....having a quilt made from my Dad's clothes, it's something I can wrap around me, for now it's as close to a hug I can get from him (sure he may be around me but I don't sense anything as yet). So if you like this idea then maybe hold onto some clothes, ones with nice colours, nice materials, imagine a quilt made from those.

Anything with her writing on it is something I would personally treasure too, it's something unique, something nobody else in this world has the same. I have lots of little notes my Dad used to leave for me, I want to laminate them and just always keep them with me.

Maybe you'd like to keep cards too, any birthday, Christmas cards etc ...I know these are things I like to keep also.

Photos obviously are priceless, I never ever took enough of my Dad.

These are really just some generic suggestions, what's special to some people may not be to others. Maybe as you go through everything, something will tell you "oh I'd like to keep this", your instinct may kick in to find what it most dear to you to hold onto.

I'm just sorry you had to join this ever expanding club, none of us want to be here but we have no choice.

((HUGS)) to you


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Hello Kathy,

I am so sorry for the loss of your dear mom. I wish I had more to say than I'm sorry but, simply we all know there is nothing else to say.

I lost my mom in Nov 2009 and just lost my dad Oct 4, 2010. My brother and I live in 2 entirely different states from my parents and we are left with cleaning and selling the house, deciding what to do with all their things also. My dad asked me, after mom died, what do I think we will do with the house when he's gone. I told him that I thought we would sell it because it would be too painful to keep. He said I could understand that because since mom died it has been hard to stay here. My brother and I will be flying to meet each other to clear it out over Veteran's Day weekend. I called the hospice and found out that they have a store which they will sell items donated and all proceeds go to the hospice where mom AND dad spent their last days and eventually died. We put the house up for sale and received an offer in a week. I feel that, in this market, mom and dad had to have something to do with that. We went though almost all of the paperwork. Dad kept everything, birth certificates, old passport photos, his drafting tools and even their Naturalization papers - they looked so young and innocent. Where are those wonderful people? I like to think they are in a better place - paradise. I feel sad to sell it and sad to keep it - I am torn. I think I need to sell it so I can go on with "the process". I really can't stand those two words. The beautiful memories we had with my parents are forever emblazened in my mind so I don't have to keep it to remember them.

Anyway, Kathy, I hope that you will take your time and keep what you find dear in you heart. If you are in question wheather to keep it or not - keep it and make a decision later when you can be more clear headed. Once it's gone to someone else, you don't have that chance again.

big hugs to you, Kathy.


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Thank you everyone for the replies. I am also sorry for your losses. What helped me most is to realize that it is OK if I take time to get through this - I thought I had to be up and running certainly withing 3 months of mom's death.

Thanks again,


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