As your parents age, you end up doing a little caretaking yourself. Whether you’re directly participating in your mom’s healthcare or coordinating those services, there’s a lot that goes into end-of-life care.
As much as this is an overwhelming time for you, it’s an overwhelming time for Mom, too. Sometimes one of the best things you can do is sit and spend time together with those feelings. To keep your visits a little more upbeat, you can structure them around documenting her belongings.
It may sound like an odd way to spend your time, but documenting her belongings is a necessary task -- and one that she may feel too overwhelmed to tackle on her own. Doing it now, with her input, with help you both process some of your heavy emotions.
Helping your mom document her belongings is simple with the Tomorrow app. Here are some other reasons it can be so helpful.
Allows you to take a trip down memory lane.
As you help your mother go through her possessions, there will inevitably be stories. Photo albums. Memories brought to life through these tangible objects.
If your mom is receiving hospice-level care, this may be one of your last opportunities to hear these stories. Some of them may even be brand new to you.
Make sure you have a voice recording app downloaded on your phone to preserve these memories. And make sure audio recording is okay with Mom first, of course!
Allows her to pass down meaningful heirlooms.
In my house, I have a beautiful hand-painted, ceramic piggy bank left to me by my great-grandmother. Its only real value is sentimental. But it’s something that makes me feel connected to her even though she passed when I was very young. It’s something I know she wanted me to have.
In the same way, your mother may want to pass down some heirlooms to family members. By going through them with her now, she’ll have a little less anxiety about a task that can sometimes loom large.
Your family members will appreciate it, too. They’re likely to treasure the hand-me-downs, whether they’re worth a lot of money or simply hold memories like my piggy bank.
Gives her room to say goodbye.
You’re at her bedside. But mom may not know when she’ll get to say her final goodbye to all of her family members and friends.
If she wants to, you can help her write a letter or short note to go with each present. If she wants to express final farewells, you can be there to help her through the emotional process.
Lightens your burden as caretaker.
Eventually, your mother will pass. You will feel grief. Some days will be harder than others.
By going through your mother’s possessions with her now, you’re allowing the task to serve as a healing practice. If you wait to do it until after she’s gone, you’ll be in some of the most turbulent days of loss while second-guessing if you’re really distributing her belongings as she would have liked.
Doing it now removes that burden and can turn the entire thing into a positive experience.