An Ending That Helps Propel Forward?

AUDIO VERSION: (Transcript below for those who prefer to read)


Letting go of an estranged child’s belongings may be a step towards healing.


We took one step today towards forward movement as parents of an only estranged adult child.  We bought some sterilite containers and grabbed some cardboard boxes.

It sounds easy enough to do, doesn’t it?

It’s not!

I felt guilt at even getting into the car to go and do this, let alone the idea of doing it but, it needs to be done.

After 9 years now since our only daughter moved out of our home and in with a total jerk, got herself into psychedelic drugs which, by the way, she doesn’t consider to be drugs, and estranging herself from not only her father and I but, also our families and all of her former friends, without anything other than vague ramblings that made no sense to any one of us all, it’s time to give up on keeping the rest of her belongings that she hasn’t looked at in all of these years but, won’t give an answer as to what she wants done with them in spite of repeated requests as to her wishes.  None were given and therefore, it’s time for them to leave our home as we will soon be leaving it as well to go and live elsewhere.  We cannot take all of her things with us nor, can we afford to store it all for her.

Guilt rules my insides and yet, a part of me is good and ready to get rid of it all.  There are people who would love to have and use these things.  A good charity will be our goal for these things.

My grandmother’s and before her, my great grandmother’s cabinet which I lovingly rescued from being taken to a garbage dump, sanded and refinished for our daughter’s arrival, will be one of those pieces.  My grandmother and great grandmother are both gone from this earth as is my daughter.  It once housed her baby blankets, powders, diapers, creams, wipes and such.  Later it became a place to store books she had read and wanted to keep as well as her photo albums.  Eventually, she cleaned out what she wanted and left the rest, stacked into the back of an enlarged closet that my husband had re-done in her room so that she had storage space.  Heaven only knows what else lays within that closet.

At her age now, there is likely little chance that I will ever become a grandmother.  Her baptismal gown, first holy communion dress and even a flouncy, fairytale like prom dress that I helped her pick out will also all go.  What is the use in saving these things since she has become so against any religious form that even were she to have a child one day with someone else if she could, that child would not see the interior of any sort of church in all likelihood.  Her prom dress is but a memory that has long since faded to one of an evening that even she has dropped by the wayside.

There are a plethora of other things in that closet that were part of her younger years, including homework, toys, dolls and who knows what else lurks within the depths of the back of it.  It’s certain that part of those things will be her diplomas, awards and degree from university.  Of course, the diplomas, awards and degree, I will not get rid of but, suffice it to say that likely, the rest of those old, long forgotten and forsaken belongings will leave our home.

There’s the stereo that her former best friend bought for her when hers went on the fritz and before we could do anything about it.  A bed frame and box spring, shelving units as well as a carpenter created bench with storage that I refinished for her that will also be shed.  In short, we are taking back our home but, it hurts to do this.  It’s like wiping out memories of long ago for me.  Hubby doesn’t feel the same about these things as I do but, both of us know that they have to leave as we also pare down our own belongings as well and prepare to move out of this tiny home that we have now and in order to live in an orderly fashion elsewhere.

It was impossible for me to start the process tonight.  I’d taken one giant step but, while I know it has to be done and am ready to allow the past to be in the past, I dread it.  I feel horrible guilt for getting rid of her belongings.  It’s much like tossing the left behind belongings of a deceased person however, for all intents and purposes, she is deceased to  us all in many ways.  With no contact, being blocked in every manner possible, it resembles that of a loved one, passing on.  Of course, there’s always hope to hang onto however, as I’ve written before, the rope that I had held onto, has now become but a thread, too thin and fragile to hold onto any longer.  It simply dangles there to remind me that there’s only a slim fragment left of it now.

Life moves on.  It has to.  It can’t stay the same nor, can her bedroom and our home remain a shrine to someone who has been so cruel and hurtful with us that I had once contemplated ending my own life.  Thankfully, I have gotten past that point.  Where there was hurt, self-blame and deep pain, there is now anger.  In other words, I have been going through the stages of grief and there is an end to it at some point.  There has to be.  At the least, there has to be some form of peace that I come to.  Perhaps, after the anger?  Tears have been shed for far too long and those tears have turned into anger.

As I placed the boxes into her long ago, former room, I realized something that I hadn’t looked at before.  While I was feeling guilty for getting rid of forgotten material things that had belonged to her at one time, taking up valuable space for nearly a decade, un-looked at, I recognized that our daughter had done far more damage than us getting rid of some material belongings that she seemed to no longer care about.  She had gotten rid of flesh and blood, love, care, concern and those who had shown her the most of it, like it was yesterday’s old news.  She had already tossed away those belongings when she tossed us all aside so cruelly and never looked back.  What did I have to feel guilty about.

So, it is as it is.  Likely tomorrow, we will begin the process of getting rid of what is left of her tossed away belongings so that we can move forward.  I may not be able to spend hours at it and it may have to be done in smaller increments but, it will get done.  Who knows, I may get going and want to continue until it’s done.  Then, begins the clear-out of the basement where more of her belongings were left behind by her.  We are not a storage facility nor, can we afford one for all of this stuff.  It all has to go and since she’s been asked but, doesn’t seem to want any of it, it will also go.  A bit at a time is how I have to handle it.  I certainly can’t do it all in one day but, I will go for as long as I can mentally and emotionally handle it.  I’m sure to shed some tears and be ready to pound some pillows as well but, it has to be done for everyone’s sake especially, ours.

From my little corner of life, if you’re the parent of an estranged adult child who still has their child’s belongings, that may be a good place to start to heal. Get rid of the past because your child has done so in one way or another.  Let go and be in peace.

Be well.  Love and Light,

Have a great day or evening.

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