Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dividing a loved one's belongings.

This is always something very hard to do. It is also hard for me to share this but the few times I have, people have always been surprised and couldn't believe everything was done without any animosity whatsoever!

As I have mentioned before, I have 2 sisters and a brother. We lost our parents within 2 years of each other, both to cancer unfortunately.

The time came for decisions to be made on my parents home and since we all had homes of our own there was no choice but to put the house on the market. I sold it to one of my daughter's best friends, who had spent many nights sleeping over at my parents home with my daughter Amy. The new owners were delighted and so were we that we knew the people moving in loved our parents as much as we did.

Time to clean out the house - a very hard thing to do. My siblings and I decided we were taking a long weekend and the 4 of us staying at my parents home to do what we needed to do - just us, no kids, spouses, etc. We all knew exactly what our parents "left" to us in the will but there were so many other things in the home we needed to distribute.

I am not really sure whose initial idea it was - but, my Mom loved playing cards. SCAT, poker, 45's, crib, you name it she played it. She was not a big gambler, we played for .25 a hand or nickel and dime, but we had fun. On our annual vacation together in St. Martin's, we taught all the grandchildren to play - it was tradition to play cards at the old house (my great grandparents homestead).

SO....when the time came to clean out the house and distribute our parents belonging - we played poker! We cleaned all day, threw out things we knew would be of no use to anyone and in the evening, we played poker. We put items on the table or if they were too large, we stated what was being played for this hand and whoever won added their treasures to their piles. A couple of things were exchanged in a very civil but fun manner and great negotiation skills required. Some piles were higher than others, but it didn't really matter. All of the Christmas decorations we divided between our children as keepsakes of their grandparents. My sisters and I have grown children out on their own so what we couldn't use ourselves we passed on to them.

My siblings and I took an extremely difficult time, went thru things, cried, laughed and enjoyed many precious memories - just the 4 of us. It was one of the hardest weekend I have ever lived thru but also it holds some very special moments because my siblings and I were able to share the pain, laughter and memories. This is what I would like to "pay forward" to others.

I have heard of so many families having major disputes over their parents belongings after the parents have passed on and the disputes lasting for years - which is so, so sad. This is a time you need to be strong as a family.

If you find yourself in a similar position and not sure how to handle the distribution of a lost loved ones belongings, grab a deck of cards and call your family!

I know for certain - our parents, especially my Mom was exceptionally proud of us that weekend!

1 comment: