When my mother-in-law passed away, her sons gathered in the condo in Florida to pack up and divide up the contents of the home. Each arrived with a list of family favorites. There were items that each son, daughter-in-law and/or grandchild cherished and requested.
What was so amusing about this process were the “things” (other than the furniture, fine china or rugs) that held value – a set of dominoes, Nanny’s mink stole, her wooden chopping bowl, Pop-Pop’s poker chips, an egg-shaped curio made of materials unknown, and most importantly – a metal figurine of a dog used as a door-stop
My husband, his older brothers and the grandchildren played with “Doggie” throughout the years. Which son took “Doggie” home became a discussion worthy of UN negotiations.
Eventually my husband gained custody of “Doggie.” He now sits by our front door guarding our home as he has done for prior generations and where our grandchildren play with him frequently.
The above is a light-hearted example of what often happens when families are faced with the task of dividing up their parents’ belongings.
What should be a time of story telling, sharing of family history and love can become a time of divisiveness. I’ve heard stories of families who stop talking to one another as they race to place post-it notes around grandma’s home.
The website Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate addresses these issues and possible scenarios while providing some thoughtful guidance and tips for families.