Paying Tribute to Memories Can Help Us Move On

Coping with the loss of  anything significant in our life can be challenging.   It can be difficult to release memorabilia that connects you to a significant person, event or part of  your life that was important to you.  I try to help and support my clients find balance in memorializing that something or someone (with the proper respect) without having it overcome their life.

The following letter is from a client:

Dear Patricia:

When I attended one of your workshops last winter, you gave me an exercise to do that included choosing some items that would pay tribute to my mother who had recently passed on. I actually made my little shrine by displaying some of her “things.”

Today, I sat among her things and wrote up all my Christmas cards. It was the first time since she died in 1999 that I have been able to get myself to sit down and do all my cards. You see, we used to enjoy this task of writing out our cards together.

Every year I have felt badly about not getting the Christmas cards out. I just wanted to thank you for the role you played in conquering my aversion to doing this happy task without Mom. I dropped off the cards this morning at the post office and it felt just great!


What about you? Is there a task you used to enjoy, but find yourself holding back due to losing a loved one? Do you find yourself holding on to “things” because of the memories?

Although building a shrine typically is meant to honor the deceased, it also can serve as a way to acknowledge loss.

For example, Judith Kolberg explains in “Conquering Chronic Disorganization” how she worked with a retired teacher who had difficulty letting go of memorabilia that represented his teaching years. Unfortunately after years and years of saving his “stuff,” this created an insurmountable amount of clutter and prevented him from making room for anything else in his life.

So, just like my client, Nancy, they too built a shrine, only his was to memorialize his teaching career.

A shrine may take form by selecting a small table or any place you feel fit to place artifacts that represent and pay tribute to your cause. Remember, selecting items that best represent the memories that you hold near and dear to your heart enables you to release the things that stand in your way of moving on.


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