When people pass away, they leave behind their possessions which include old photos, post cards, letters and mementos. When it’s you who has to sort through it all after a parent, grandparent or siblings dies, it can be overwhelming.
My mother-in-law broke her hip and we had to move her to a memory care nursing center. I am going through her keepsake photos and some of them she has kept for 70+ years.
I’ve done this before with my grandmother’s, mother’s and brother’s things after they passed away. It’s definitely hard and emotional.
I felt if they held on to it for so many years, then it must have been a sweet memory or a special place in their heart. I just couldn’t throw them in the trash!
Forward Photos, Post Cards, Letters & Mementos
Even though it’s a little time consuming, I decided if at all possible, I would forward the items to the people in the photos, those who wrote the letters, or their descendants. For example, I’m mailing a Christmas letter to the children of the parents who sent the letter.
Sharing a piece of the past or a special moment in time, such as handwritten letters of someone’s family members dated from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80ss, & 90s, becomes a special gift.
My mother always tagged her gifts with a sticker of who it was from, the date and occasion. This made it easy to know who to return it to along with her handwritten sticker note intact. I was lucky growing up to know my great aunts, uncles, cousins and their children and family friends. Many of us are Facebook friends!
I included a note to my mother-in-law’s nephew that said, “I found these pics and thought you would enjoy knowing she loved you by keeping them – especially your pic from 7th grade!”
After mailing my mother-in-law’s pictures to her sister’s sons, I was reminded of the reactions of the people who have received similar gifts of treasured mementos from me in the past.
They were so grateful to have a piece of their loved one’s history, and it made me feel good these precious treasures found another home.
Giving this type of thoughtful gift naturally brings about another gift – reconnecting with family and friends! It’s truly worth the time!
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. – Soren Kierkegaard