Letting Go by Denise Brown MA-ATR. Art Therapist/Grief Support Specialist

After the loss of a significant person, you may be faced with the daunting task of going through belongings and making decisions about personal items. Another big decision may include moving to a smaller living space, forcing you to deal with personal items before you’re emotionally ready.

We’re all faced with letting go of items from time to time. In the midst of grief, making these decisions may trigger anxiety, deep sadness, discouragement and confusion.

Keeping the goal in mind may help. A frequent goal is the need to release what is no longer needed in your living space. (You may decide to store items in a garage or closet, if you cannot bear to part with certain items yet). Proceed, if you can, when you’re ready, if this is an option.

So how do you let go of loved ones belongings that have a strong connection to the deceased? Reflect on your loved one to help decide what to keep and what you can let go. Consider which items are similar. Will keeping just one fulfill the memory? Think about which objects make you feel good, paying close attention to your emotions as you touch or hold each piece.

Try to honor yourself by noticing when you need to take breaks. When the time is right, you may find ways to make these choices. Think about allowing for something new. There can be a sense of closure in releasing some items.

Everyone has their own philosophy about the importance of belongings and that will dictate your approach. There are many books on this subject that might be helpful. However long it takes to achieve your goal, acknowledge small achievements. Doing so may keep you motivated and your eye on the goal. To add fun to this process, give yourself rewards along the way. Self-nurturing and compassion during any grief “work” helps, so consider discovering and using extra self-care during this process.