April 04, 2024

D - Donating


Theme: Grief Work and Healing Journey

For some, going through their loved one's belongings and figuring out what to do with them too soon can hurt them even more, but delaying the task too long can delay your grief and healing. Neither way is the right way. The only right way is your way.

I ended up going through my mom's things very early on in the grieving process for a couple of reasons. 

One, a sibling kept asking about this item and that item, and because of that I decided to gather up everything my mom left to her family or what I thought they'd like/want, which meant going through things. 

Two, I had to do SOMETHING. During the first two or three weeks, I really relied on being busy. Busy work and distractions are helpful but, again, can delay grief and healing.

Three, I didn't like having these tasks left to do, going through my mom's belongings. I didn't think that waiting would particularly make it easier, as some say, so I did it early, and because I couldn't get help, I did it all by myself.

Yes, there were a couple of moments when I got emotional, which I share in the upcoming F - Facebook Posts, but time wouldn't have made me less emotional, and I was okay afterward.


This post is supposed to be what I did with the things I did not keep or give to my siblings.

As you can guess from the title of this post, I donated them.

While I did bring a tiny box of DVDs and a couple of shoes to my local Goodwill, I didn't just dump everything there.


I packed up my mom's knitting, sewing, crocheting, and other craft supplies that I couldn't use into three boxes and gave them, along with two sewing machines, to the Lutheran church I started to go to.

See: C - Church.

They have knitting, crocheting, and craft circles. Because my mom grew up Lutheran and I had wanted to start bringing her there, I think she would've liked the idea of her craft supplies being donated to the ladies who make up those circles and her supplies being used to create things for people in need.


My mom hadn't lost her hair. It had only thinned. But we had prepared just in case with hats she knitted for herself, a couple of hats she got for free at the cancer center, and a couple of silky hats my sister gave to her when she started chemo. She hadn't used any of them, so I put them into a bag and brought them to the cancer center where she had received her chemo and immunotherapy treatments.

I had included a black foldable cane with butterflies on it that I'd bought her when we thought that she'd eventually be able to go back to using a cane and not the cute purple walker-rollator with butterfly print covers on the seat and backrest. She was never able to use that cane, and I thought it might make someone smile, just at the butterflies on my mom's walker-rollator made her (and staff at hospitals and doctors' offices) smile.


I kept a lot of my mom's clothes, such as her skirts and jackets and a handful of T-shirts, which I've worn since then. Most of it I put into my own closet, but there were articles of clothing I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep or donate them, so I put them in a spare closet. The rest I put into a huge garbage bag and brought to the church because they were collecting clothes for Genesis House, which provides emergency assistance to homeless women and their children.

My mom always loved to give to others (clothes, books, food, etc.), as I always have, even when we didn't have much ourselves. We had that in common. We had even talked about how we liked to give to others.

It felt good to give her things to those who could use them, and I believe that she would've approved whole-heartedly. 



B - Beach

C - Church

D - Donating


  1. "The only right way is your way." I love that you say that. When my husband died (at only 47), I needed to get rid of his things. We had married at barely 18 (I was 12 days past turning 18!), so seeing his clothing etc. was too much for me. Too soon for some people. Right for me.
    I know what you mean about siblings asking for this or that, after our mother died. Some things one just took "for safekeeping" and we never got back for the estate. One in particular was to be mine. I let it go. That attitude was why I, the youngest and only female, was executor and not the much older brothers. She said "I'd be fair," and I tried.

    1. Yup, I’m the youngest daughter, youngest child, and I was the executor for that reason, too. I knew how to be fair and what my mom would want others to have because I’d lived with her. Fortunately, I didn’t get much pushback.

  2. Yes, the only right way is your way. I've been part of several cleanouts, the first being for my mother (who died when I was 12) and the second an aunt who was like a second mother to me in some ways and passed away from cancer two months after I married. My father did not give some of my Mom's belongings away until I was nearly grown - I think it was a way for him to keep her alive. With my mother in law, whom I was one of several caregivers for, my husband was her executor. Fortunately all the siblings get along so there weren't any major battles over who got what although the pandemic came along before we could do it all and we still have things we have to go through. Donations the way you did honored your mother. We need to get going on what we still have, which is stored in a bedroom that is also my home office.

    1. I’m sorry that the pandemic halted that process for you.

      It felt right to give my mom’s things to those who could really use them.

  3. My condolences on the loss of your mom. I'm sure she would have approved of donating her belongings, and it sounds like you did it in such a thoughtful, caring way.

  4. I'm sorry to hear about your mom, Lady Chrys. I lost my beloved stepmom in January. We solved so many world problems over cups of Swiss Mocha...You are an inspiration in how you've handled the situation. Hugs!

  5. It is nice to think that her stuff is going to be used to help others. But it is hard to have to give it all away. Hang in there.

    1. Knowing that made the process so much easier, and it felt right, felt good.

  6. Whatever works for you is the right way to do it. There is no too early or too late.

  7. Hi Chrys...Your Mom is surely smiling in heaven and sharing with the Angels what a special, thoughtful and loving daughter she raised. I did much the same with my Mom's treasures...she saved every report card, greeting cards, photos and more. I found that returning them to siblings, friends and relatives was a loving trip down memory lane for all. Thank you for visiting Where Bluebonnets Grow. Elmer Kelton was a nationally known author. I'm thinking your visit was heavenly sent.

    1. Thank you, Sue. Your first sentence there brought happy tears to my eyes.

      That would be a fun trip down memory lane, seeing all those treasures and sharing them with everyone.

  8. I prefer going through belongings as soon as possible to start the healing process. I like how you divided the donations and didn't just give it to one organisation.

    Ronel visiting for D: My Languishing TBR: D

    1. There’s no other way for me to do it, either. I have to do it right away.


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