I recently received a message from an old friend and colleague; he said “Your business is offering a service that I must avail of one of these years, as I don’t want to leave a cat’s cradle of problems for loved ones after my death”.
He could not have known how close, to the truth of the matter, he was. One of my clients found herself in just that position. With Lasting Power of Attorney for her parents, who have now both been taken into care, she received their personal belongings of photos and paperwork going back some 30 years.
There were many folders in chests of drawers and boxes, all in no particular order. Copies of emails, minutes of residents meetings, financial papers, including every bank statement (closed accounts and current) plus every utility bill and insurance policy.
Feeling overwhelmed, (understandably so) she contacted me.
It was a systematic process, to go through every piece of paper and either discard, file for future use or archive their life, in terms of incoming and outgoing communications. About 30 battered cardboard folders were discarded for recycle, and overall, 11 bags of paperwork taken to be confidentially shredded.
I have felt very privileged to do this work, not only putting order to mum and dads past, but giving my client some relief from the heavy weight of that burden. It was very humbling and brought home the reality of how we live, surrounded by stuff, be it papers or things, that we could let go of (we don’t need to keep everything) and we could feel so much lighter.