Grief does strange things to us. It is incredible how great sadness causes normal life and living to go completely out the window. Sadly I experienced a death in the family earlier this year and it wasn’t until now that I feel ready to share and highlight some of the things I experienced from a minimalist and frugal perspective.
Sadly, my Gran passed away suddenly a few days prior to my birthday and as she was someone who was always a very big part of my life, it is a loss I’m still feeling quite heavily and is why I’ve been MIA for a while. This however, is not a post about dealing with grief or a way in which I’m trying to source sympathy. No, this is a combination of my thoughts, feelings and actions throughout the grieving process when it came to making minimalist and frugal decisions (or lack thereof).
I love to save money. I love to meal plan, batch cook, shop the specials, use vouchers and discount codes. I like to prepare my work lunches in advance and not buy expensive meals at work during the week. All of this went out the window following my Gran’s passing. I wasn’t in the headspace to be organised and I also didn’t have the time. I helped plan the funeral, write the Eulogy, coordinated the photo presentation and the music selection, all while continuing to work full time. There was no time left to save money. As a result, we spent a lot of money on evening takeaways and lunchtime meals. But I don’t feel guilty. If there’s one time to let loose and splurge, that was it. I loved the convenience of it all, there was no time to shop let alone cook and as a result I refuse to let myself feel guilty. I did the best I could at the time there were days when getting by was a real achievement in itself.
Following a funeral, there comes a time where you and other family members have to go through a loved one’s things and clean our their space. Lots of physical objects, lots of stuff and lots of memories. This was going to put my minimalism to the test for the first time ever. There are so many things that are ‘nice to have’. As I pulled various items from drawers and cupboards I was reminded of years gone by and reminisced with family and friends around me. It’s tempting to take stuff. It was tempting to take stuff. Things that reminded me of her, things that smelt like her and things I remember always being around growing up. I didn’t take anything. Others did and I didn’t. I didn’t honestly feel the need to in the end. I have my photos of her and I have my memories and my memories aren’t in physical things they’re just there. I don’t need physical objects to remind me about her because something reminds me about her every day. My Gran always used to buy us grandkids strawberries and cream lollies and I happened to notice some in a store the other day and remembered that and the times we used to try and sneak more whenever she wasn’t looking so when I saw them I bought some on a whim as a treat. Taking physical objects from her house didn’t make me remember that story.
I don’t feel guilty for not taking anything. Most things were either donated or went in the bin.
I feel her all around me, and not because I’m surrounded my physical clutter that used to be in her house and is now in mine, but because day to day life and experiences just remind me of her so barely a day goes by where she isn’t present in my life. Just not physically, or with stuff.
How have you dealt with the loss of a loved one and the possessions they’ve left behind?