I like the idea of The Stories We Leave Behind. It’s a book by Laura H. Gilbert, a recent find added to my e-reader library. Audience: my generation–Baby Boomers, who have accumulated ‘Stuff’ in our sixty-plus years of living.
The author points out that generations after us aren’t as interested in collecting ‘things.’ There’s a simplifying trend–and they’re also more mobile and technology-centered. So ‘handing down’ or ‘passing on’ our prized possessions doesn’t really float their boat.
It’s the stories we leave behind, then: How do we want to be remembered? And maybe stories connected to that ‘Stuff’ we valued, treasured; and maybe not keeping so much ‘Stuff’ for our personal representative and family to deal with after we’re gone.
I’ve been thinking of those things lately. We, my husband and I, don’t have kids, so who gets selected to deal with our stuff? Siblings? Nieces and Nephews? Friends? No matter who it is, it’s time to make it easier for them by taking care of what we can, now, while we can.
For me, there’s lot of art–functional and fine art, books, writings, a few pieces of furniture. An estate sale (with proceeds earmarked to a favorite charity)? Or maybe it’s better to start releasing some of it now–or at least, asking friends and family members if there’s anything of ours that’s significant to them and that they’d want when we’re ready to let it go.
My husband’s aunt did that. We picked out a sculpture we loved, and she labeled it with our names on the bottom. When she moved, her sculpture came to us. It comes out every year over the holidays. Aunt Jean liked beautiful things, too.
The author, Laura Gilbert, speaks of a ‘Discovery Half-Day’–which is all you want it to take for your loved ones to go through your stuff, get a sense of who you were, and sort everything, so it can be distributed and not be burdensome for those left behind.
Apparently, this book contains a process to do that. I’m looking forward to reading and learning and getting started. That we get to help craft the stories we leave behind–about who we are / were and what we valued and why some things were significant and treasured–is empowering, motivating.
Stuff I treasured might be trashed if I left / kept it. Choosing where it goes now and keeping its story is maybe a better way. It’s also a reason / opportunity to have some one-on-ones with siblings, nieces and nephews, and friends. And time to get those Final Wishes details documented, also.