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Thread: Objects that used to have meaning but don't anymore

  1. #1
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    Objects that used to have meaning but don't anymore

    Hi, Folks:
    As some of you know, spouse and I are moving. I confess, I am really having a difficult time with the whole thing. I began to pack some knickknacks the other day, and it went Ok until I moved on to my teapot collection.

    This collection isn't huge. I'd say there are maybe less than 20. But I completely flipped out while trying to wrap them up. Crying and everything. First they all had to be washed. I hadn't cleaned some in so long that there was dirt BONDED onto them, almost like a nicotlne stain. Then I dried them off, and started to wrap to put in boxes. While I'm looking at them/touch them, I'm realizing a couple of things.

    1. If they meant so much to me, why haven't I cleaned or touched them or cared for them? (One reason is, I loathe housework and rarely do any dusting or vacuuming at all).
    2. They don't seem to have much meaning for me anymore. I started collecting them more than 20 years ago, most likely because I'm quite an Anglophile and they reminded me of England. Now I'm just seeing them as More Things to Dust.

    There are two that belonged to each of my grandmothers, that have meaning. If I kept them, I'm not even sure where I'd put them. On a bookshelf, perhaps? The rest, I just feel a sort of nothingness when I look at them. They sure don't "spark joy." ha ha

    I'm thinking of just taking those boxes to the Salvation Army.

    I feel a sense of loss and guilt. Loss because they used to mean so much to me. I even had a special hutch to display them. (Not sure I want the hutch anymore, either).

    Has anyone ever experienced something like this? I guess I haven't since I gave away my Breyer horse models when I was a teenager. ha ha

    I should add: I am going through a VERY bad time emotionally right now. I lost two friends last week, and the grandson of one of my best friends, age 13, died in a gun related incident last week.

  2. #2
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    Frugalone, Perhaps you have grown beyond needing them. Now that they are clean, it is a good time to pass them on to a budding Anglophile and let them enjoy them more than you are now. I cannot imagine the sadness you feel with the loss of two friends and a grandchild of a friend. I would think the tears could be that..... Good luck for the rest of the packing. Be kind to yourself. Don't try to judge why things don't "spark joy", just go with it. Oh so easy to say. Hugs to you.

  3. #3
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Has anyone ever experienced something like this?
    Sure. But you have it way worse because of the other losses you've experienced recently.

    I had a hard time a while back discarding/rehoming items that were important to me at one point, or were aspirational. It was hard to admit that I'm never going to be the person that <fill in the blank>, and getting rid of the items was acknowledging that in a very real way. And some items I did use at one point, but just not interested any longer. Still hard to give up, because they remind me of happy past experiences. But giving up the item doesn't dim the memory.

    I'm very sorry for your losses.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I, too, am so sorry you're moving through this transition with some sadness. I can definitely identify, as I will be starting that process in the new year. I get extremely sentimental over objects that remind me of certain people and experiences, and that sentimentality is crowding me out of my home! Everything from my daughter's 1994 Halloween costume to the furniture that I'm sure we won't be taking with us.. To me the objects aren't just objects--they're tangible symbols of a memory or a story, and it feels like you're "closing the book" on that story when you give up the symbol.

    My son was in a movie when he was very young, and I still have his little blue flannel blazer that he wore to the movie premiere. Now, it is simply what Tybee called in a recent post "frozen energy." What a shame that another little boy or little boys have not had the opportunity to wear that blazer and write another chapter of that object's story. In fact, I once considered writing out our experience with the jacket and folding it up and putting it in the pocket of the jacket before giving it to Goodwill. I felt it would help to keep my own memory alive.

    So, I get what you are going through.

    You have had many losses to process this week. Be easy on yourself.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    Sure. But you have it way worse because of the other losses you've experienced recently.

    I had a hard time a while back discarding/rehoming items that were important to me at one point, or were aspirational. It was hard to admit that I'm never going to be the person that <fill in the blank>, and getting rid of the items was acknowledging that in a very real way. And some items I did use at one point, but just not interested any longer. Still hard to give up, because they remind me of happy past experiences. But giving up the item doesn't dim the memory.

    I'm very sorry for your losses.
    The might have beens...I used to be quite a baker. Dreamed of one of those big KitchenAid mixers for years, got it, used it once. Was diagnosed as a Diabetic and can't bear to bake at home anymore. Still it sits. Oh, the art supplies never used! I've got two sewing machines...and I don't really enjoy sewing...Sigh.

    O

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I feel for you. The past year or so I have been going through the same process here at home.

    So much stuff, so much frozen-in-the-past energy, so many plans-and-projects that never happened.

    As the dust is settling though, I am feeling much more free, and able to look forward, instead of having the constant noise in my head of all the Old Things And Plans.

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    I think the tears are understandable given you have lost 3 people. I am so sorry. Moving is hard with lots of decisions. A move across country was the impetus for me to get rid of my teapot collection except for one a good friend gave me. Gradually for the past 20 years I have been shedding stuff. I like a clean house and don’t want to spend all my time cleaning. I recently donated all my Hummel’s to a husky rescue because they sell things on eBay and then I sold the curio cabinet. All my collections are now gone. Recently I ran across the folder I had for each boy with their newspaper clippings of achievements and told them they could have it or I was throwing it away. I threw away my folder on myself too. Too much stuff doesn’t make us happy but rather drags us down.

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    Thank you all for your kind words. My emotions have surprised me, since I have wanted to move for more than a year. I'm dealing with piles of clutter and I can't even get the movers in the house to give me an estimate. It's really worse than I thought.

    I feel so badly for my friend. She's always been such a strong person, a mother figure to me. She told me the other day, "I don't know if I'll make it through this one" and it frightened me. My spouse keeps telling me not to get too tangled up in her business, which strikes me as somewhat crass under the circumstances. (This, coming from a guy who has empathy for everybody in the world).

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    Losing a child or grandchild is the hardest. The pain never goes away. People struggle for a long time. All the milestones that the child missed is a constant reminder. I hope your friend has other people she needs to be here for like her kids or spouse. Being needed by others really helps people get threw the worst of it. A person never gets over it. So sad.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Losing a child or grandchild is the hardest. The pain never goes away. People struggle for a long time. All the milestones that the child missed is a constant reminder. I hope your friend has other people she needs to be here for like her kids or spouse. Being needed by others really helps people get threw the worst of it. A person never gets over it. So sad.
    She and her husband come from big families. They have something like 50 nieces and nephews, all of whom have children and grandchildren themselves. So there is a big support system.

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