Just after Preslee’s funeral, and before the grief took over, I gave a few of Preslee’s belongings away. At the time I didn’t think much of it, and thought others would be happy to have a piece of Preslee’s life to remember her by.
A few months later, I drastically wanted those items back. The thought of someone else having something that she had loved so much really upset me. I knew at the time I shouldn’t be so upset, so I shared my feelings with very few people, but I hated myself for giving away her things so freely. I thought about the Tickle Me Elmo I gave away ALL THE TIME. (My SIL told me from the moment I gave it to them that I could have it back at anytime, but I never asked)
I’ve talked to many others who experienced the same feelings I felt. And later received the advice to wait at least six months before giving anything away. They told me I would have a better understanding of what items would mean the most to us.
After I beat myself up for giving away those few items, I packed away everything we had left and didn’t let anyone touch it. It wasn’t until last week, 2 1/2 years later, much longer than 6 months, that I felt I was ready to part with some of her possessions.
I decided to tackle the toy chest, where all of her toys have been kept, along with the stuffed animals she received at PCMC. And even though the stuffed animals are in perfect condition, I realized I never let Ledger play with them because of the memories that resurfaced every time I opened the chest. I went through every single toy she ever played with, and found it surprisingly therapeutic. It was similar to taking her room down in preparation for Ledger’s arrival. I only kept a few of her favorites stuffed animals, and am planning to donate the rest to our local hospital.
This is my piece of advice to any of you who find yourself in a similar situation. Hold on to the items for a little bit, don’t be too quick to give them away. Even though I worked through those emotions, and now would never want to take Tickle Me Elmo back, I wish I would have waited a little bit longer to part with her possessions.